Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP)

Leah's Pantry

Overview

The Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP) is a PSE change intervention designed to improve the food environment and client engagement within food pantries. NPP provides training and resources to support the implementation of strategies designed to increase access and utilization of healthy food by pantry clients, engage clients, and sustain healthy practices. Implementers are encouraged to follow a four-stage process; Planning, Needs & Current Work Assessment, Implementation, and Certification & Maintenance. SNAP-Ed educators in collaboration with food pantry staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders use the NPP framework to organize and complete the intervention. Pantry Need and Readiness is assessed and supported using a validated Healthy Food Pantry Assessment, a Client Needs Assessment questionnaire, and client feedback strategies. Based on needs and input, a work plan of PSE changes is created. NPP resources are available to support a variety of PSE changes. Pantries completing the NPP process are recognized and awarded as Silver or Gold Certified Nutrition Pantries and celebrated in the community. 

Target Behavior: Healthy EatingFood Insecurity/Food Assistance  
Intervention Type: PSE Change 

Intervention Reach and Adoption

NPP is intended for food pantry settings. Since 2017, over 50 pantries have participated in NPP. In 2019, 130 participants were trained in how to implement NPP independently. Additionally, over 600 participants were trained in pantry PSE changesImplementing partners recruit food pantries to participate in NPPDevelopment of NPP included multiple focus groups and surveys of early implementers where feedback was provided on process and resources. NPP provides a framework and process for implementation, however, the program is meant to be flexible. Needs are identified by staff and volunteers through the pantry needs assessment document and by clients through feedback opportunities.  

Setting: Community gardens, Food pantries  
Target Audience: Homeless/Food Pantry Clients 
Race/Ethnicity: All 

Intervention Components

NPP’s core components include: Pre/Post Healthy Food Pantry Assessment tool (HFPAT), Client Needs Assessment, Client Survey, NPP Work Plan, and resources related to implementing environmental nudges, nutrition education (EatFresh.org and EatFresh.org mini course), community/donor connections, policies & procedures, inventory & waste and diet & cultural accommodationsThe Client Survey and Work Plan are intended to be modified to reflect unique pantry and client needs and capacities. The HFPAT, Client Needs Assessment and Client Surveys are intended to develop organizational and staff readiness. Core NPP resources are intended to promote the adoption and promotion of nutrition support in a pantry setting. NPP Implementers must be trained via our NPP for Implementers training in order to implement the PSE intervention. After which, they can implement on their own time. Leah’s Pantry will offer technical assistance to support implementation. Partners will be expected to sign a Partner Agreement, as well as share any evaluation data collected. 

Intervention Materials

NPP materials include:  

  • Program and Process descriptions 
  • Evaluation Tool 
  • Needs Assessment 
  • Work Plan 
  • Other resources to support implementation of the 6 focus areas  

 To access NPP materials visit:  
https://www.leahspantry.org/what-we-offer/cultivate-nourished-communities/nutrition-pantry-program/ 

Intervention Costs

Once an agency is trained, digital access to intervention materials are free. Training costs vary by location. In California, training is free through SNAP-Ed or private funding. 

Evidence Summary

Pantries who have completed the Nutrition Pantry Program and a pre/post Healthy Food Pantry Assessment (n=12) increased their HFPAT score by an average of 7 points, with the largest changes seen in the categories of food distributed to clients and in policies. The smallest changes were seen in the categories of food storage and services for clients. (https://www.dropbox.com/s/o8iwpxpbrqy8ed9/NPP%20HFPAT_Evaluation%20Reporting.pdf?dl=0 

Process evaluation outcomes included that participants found the resources easy to access and that NPP was a reasonable amount of work for staff and volunteersHowever, only half “Agreed” that the work plan was easy to access and update, the other half neither agreed nor disagreed. 

Unintended benefits include network building among pantries either by geography or setting as evidenced by invitations for pantry tours, contact information exchanges and relationships built around exchange of surplus food and exchange of resources. There has been additional network building among non-traditional partners, such as food waste reduction projects. Unintended challenges include slower than expected program completion, often tied to monthly distributions (as opposed to weekly and therefore fewer opportunities to work on implementation of PSE changes), volunteer and staff turnover also limit progress. 

Evidence-based Approach: Practice-tested  

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual
Environmental Settings ST5 MT5 LT5, LT7
Sectors of Influence

ST5: Need and Readiness 

  • ST5a: 42 pantries documented readiness for changes in PSE to expand access or improve appeal for healthy eating 

MT5: Nutrition Supports

  • MT5b, c, d: Pantries completed an average number of 12 PSE changes to expand access or improve appeal for healthy eating 

LT5: Nutrition Supports Implementation 

  • LT5c: Among the 12 sites that have made at least one PSE change (MT5) and completed a pre/post Healthy Food Pantry Assessment, 10 showed improvement in their food environment assessment score. 

 LT7: Program Recognition  

  • LT7a: Leah’s Pantry has recognized 13 pantries as Certified Gold or Silver Nutrition Pantries, which means they have completed the NPP process  

Evaluation Materials

Additional Information

Website: Visit the Nutrition Pantry Program website (www.leahspantry.org) for more information and resources. 

Contact Person(s):
Adrienne Markworth 
Phone650-379-4795
Email: adrienne@leahspantry.org