Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Back to Search

Overview

The Nutrition Pantry Program (NPP) is a trauma-informed PSE change intervention designed to improve the food environment and client engagement within food pantries and other charitable distribution environments. NPP provides implementers with training and resources to support pantry staff in increasing access to and utilization of healthy food by pantry clients, increasing engagement of clients and other stakeholders, and sustaining healthy changes over time.

Implementers are encouraged to follow a four-stage process: Planning, Needs & Current Work Assessment, Implementation, and Certification & Maintenance. SNAP-Ed implementers collaborate with food pantry staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to use the NPP framework and resources to organize and complete the intervention. NPP uses the Healthy Food Pantry Assessment (HFPAT), a Client Needs Assessment questionnaire, and client feedback strategies to assess pantry needs and readiness. Based on the assessment, a work plan is co-developed by the implementer, site staff, and/or volunteers. The pantry or implementer may amend the work plan at any time due to changing needs and goals of the pantry. An extensive toolkit supports a variety of PSE changes. Pantries completing the NPP process are recognized as Bronze, Silver, or Gold Certified Nutrition Pantries and celebrated in the community.

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance  

SNAP-Ed Strategies: PSE Change 

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Since 2017, over 230 pantries have participated in NPP through a partnership with Leah's Pantry staff or a trained implementer. The program has trained over 450 implementers from over 100 agencies nationwide. Once trained, implementers recruit food pantries to participate in NPP, mainly through their food bank or SNAP-Ed program.

Settings: Gardens (School/Community), Food pantries  

Age/Population group: Unhoused 

Race: All

Ethnicity: All 

Intervention Components

NPP includes a comprehensive suite of training programs, including NPP for Implementers (required for program implementers) and Building Nourished Pantries (for pantry staff and volunteers). The extensive NPP resource library includes the following:

  • Assessment tools
  • Client and pantry-facing resources
  • Marketing and certification materials
  • Work plan and process templates
  • Signage
  • Other resources that support PSE activities in the six focus areas of NPP

A project management platform is available for implementers to manage their pantry efforts. Leah's pantry offers technical assistance to support implementation, networking, ongoing training opportunities, and review of work plans to award pantry certification.

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

Evidence Summary

Based on a 2020 process evaluation, pantries who have completed the Nutrition Pantry Program and a pre/post Healthy Food Pantry Assessment (HFPAT) (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. 

Process evaluation outcomes included that participants found the resources easy to access and that NPP was a reasonable amount of work for staff and volunteers. 

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. Pantries who have graduated NPP have used their certification status when applying for grants, highlighting the pantry to the community and increasing moral among staff and volunteers. 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 Base: 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 SettingsST5MT5LT5, 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

Please contact Leah's Pantry for the most recent evaluation tools used in the program.  

Success Story

St. Anselm's Food Pantry Partnership Fills the Need for Healthy Food Access and Nutrition Security:

https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/library/success-stories/st-anselms-food-pantry-partnership-fills-need-healthy-food-access-and

Additional Information

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

Contact Person(s):

Leah Quinn - Program Manager

650-379-4795

npp@leahspantry.org  

 

*Updated as of October 8, 2023  

Resource Type
Age/Population Group
Intervention Target Behavior
Evaluation Framework Indicators
Intervention Outcome Levels
SNAP-Ed Strategies
Evidence Base
State(s)
Language
Race
Ethnicity