Barrie Food Bank Introduces Self-Shopping Model For Those Using Service


Courtesy of Barrie 360 Ian MacLennan Published: Mar 7th, 2023

The Barrie Food Bank has announced it will be changing from a pre-bagged hamper program to a self-shop model where visitors using the service can make their own selections in different food categories.

“Starting March 8th, those who come to the Food Bank will visit the warehouse and choose their own produce, meat, dairy, bread, canned and dry goods according to their size of household,” the Food Bank said in a media release on Tuesday.

Executive Director Sharon Palmer says the overall amount of food available will not change very much, but individuals will now be provided an opportunity to make choices, so they receive food that will be eaten in their household, helping to minimize waste.

“Most of us have food preferences; some individuals and families eat foods based on cultural or religious norms; others have specific needs based on health condition(s).  The new system will offer greater choice to allow individuals and families to better meet their specific needs.  It will be much closer to the experience of visiting a grocery store. We want everyone who receives food from the Food Bank to feel that they are treated with respect and dignity,” Palmer stated.

As before, those using the service can come once a month for a major shop. Emergency bags and bread bags will still be available if a household runs short, or for those living outside without a cooking source or a place to store groceries. Individuals will still check-in with identification for themselves and each household member and will receive a “shopping card” outlining the allocations available to them for each product category based on their family size.

“We are excited to be able to offer this new way of serving our community. Other food banks that have made this change consistently say they spend less on food per household, as items are not taken if a household won’t use them. As the numbers of households using the service continues to grow, we believe this will be win/win. Those using the service will get what they need and want, and we will be more efficient by not handing out items that aren’t used,” the media release stated.

Patricia Dent

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