Client Choice Food Pantry Model Returns Dignity to Those Seeking Assistance

In partnership with Leadership Greenville and Harper Corporation, we plan to overhaul our crisis food distribution by creating a client choice food pantry.

The new client choice food pantry model will return dignity to those seeking assistance by giving them the ability to choose food items that fit their families’ needs. In the old system, pre-packaged bags are given to qualifying participants. In the new model, participants will be able to choose from available foods that best fit their families’ nutritional needs, thereby cutting down on food waste and allowing active participation in their food assistance experience.

“Our approach to food distribution has been limited by our physical space. We are excited to finally have our space designed to meet our needs and to create a more dignified experience for the people we serve,” says Ethan Friddle, Interim Executive Director of United Ministries.

United Ministries’ goal is not only to provide compassionate care for those in crisis now, but also to provide opportunities for future financial stability. Employable but unemployed participants who seek crisis assistance more than once are required to enter United Ministries’ education or employment programs, which provide life changing opportunities resulting in future financial stability. In addition, an AmeriCorps member offers benefit eligibility screening at the food pantry location.

The client choice food pantry design is donated by Leadership Greenville Class 41 member Tom Lockhart and his firm McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. Harper Corporation will donate construction services for the project.

“The Harper Corporation Family is happy to support such a worthy organization like United Ministries. We believe their effort to bring positive change to individuals and families in our area is a fantastic example to us all,” says Kyle Snipes, Business Development Director for Harper Corporation.

In addition to improving flow and efficiency for those seeking food assistance and the volunteers assisting them, the new pantry will also include additional storage space for non-perishable food, allowing United Ministries to serve more than 2,800 families each year. With the added capacity, United Ministries hopes to launch a senior outreach food delivery program.

Leadership Greenville Class 41 team members will contact area churches and businesses, who donate food to United Ministries, with a plan to streamline their efforts. By asking groups to donate specific items during one month, the team hopes to implement a sustainable annual system that will improve efficiency and cut down on waste.

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