Choice Food Pantries
In 2009, Humboldt County’s food bank, Food For People, implemented an innovative “choice pantry” that rather than handing out pre-selected and packed boxes of food, allows food bank members to select items as if they were in a grocery store. The food bank is stocked with shelves, carts, and a check-out station that all resemble a traditional supermarket experience. To encourage healthy eating habits, foods are color-coded into categories reflecting the USDA MyPlate groups. In addition to creating a more dignified food bank experience, the choice pantry model allows for increased efficiency, better tracking of what food is, and is not, in demand, and provides new opportunities for nutrition education.