A man and woman working in a food pantry.

HealthSpark releases Pantry Best Practice Guide

We have released the first-ever Best Practices Guide for Montgomery County Food Pantries. Since we began working in a targeted fashion with food pantries in Montgomery County in 2014, we heard a repeated request for a guide that would provide practical and detailed information on how they could improve their operations, spruce up their space and better serve their clients. In response, we partnered with the Coalition Against Hunger to research and write this guide.

Tanya Sen, Community Nutrition Program Manager for the Coalition, spent more than six months interviewing and conducting focus groups with pantries and other organizations that work with the emergency food system such as Philabundance, Share Food Program and the MontCo Anti-Hunger Network. She also collaborated with Bee Bergvall and Philabundance to ensure that the guide aligned with other pantry toolkits they had created (Food Pantry Financial Management Toolkit, Food Pantry Volunteer Management Toolkit and Food Pantry Advocacy Toolkit).

Although it has a focus on Montgomery County, pantries across the region can benefit from the guide's suggestions and resources. Additionally, pantries of all sizes can use the guide to continue to provide better and more efficient services.

Among the important topics it covers are:

  • How to create a more welcoming environment through converting to a choice pantry and providing trauma-informed training to all staff and volunteers
  • Suggestions for finding more resources for your pantry from money and additional food to other services for participants
  • How to more effectively manage pantry operations including caring for equipment and using technology to increase efficiency.

The guide is available to download here.