Change is tough. After we hear about an upcoming change, usually our first response is damaging, assuming it is going to be troublesome. Change might make us really feel uncomfortable as a result of we really feel a lack of management. The present pandemic has prompted quite a lot of change for all of us, and the discomfort is lasting longer than most of us anticipated.
Inside Glen-Ed Pantry, we’re additionally making a change, and whereas it could be a bit uncomfortable at first for a few of us, we’ve nice hope for the longer term.
For the previous a number of months, we’ve been planning our transition to a shopping-style pantry setup. As a substitute of receiving prepacked baggage of meals as another pantries present, or telling a volunteer the meals they need as Glen-Ed Pantry has finished, pantry shoppers can now choose meals from our cabinets themselves. Shoppers stroll via our aisles with a procuring cart, evaluating labels and making selections, simply as they’d at a grocery retailer. This idea is named Consumer Alternative. Shoppers now have the chance to decide on groceries for themselves, which supplies them not solely extra management however extra dignity.
Our procuring space is organized very like a grocery retailer, with contemporary produce close to the doorway and an space to bag groceries close to the exit. We’re providing extra contemporary produce choices in addition to dietary info and recipes. Shoppers can select meals that match their dietary wants and particular person preferences, and volunteers can present info to assist make these selections. This setup presents a extra pleasant and acquainted atmosphere and permits for extra one on one interactions.
Our volunteers are nonetheless an integral a part of the procuring course of. They’re the pleasant faces that greet every shopper, stroll via the aisles to reply questions and suggest merchandise, monitor the kilos of meals coming in and going out of the pantry, and restock cabinets ceaselessly.
This transition is not any small change. We now have added new shelving and a brand new flooring scale. We now have added a glass-door fridge with produce and a glass-door freezer with meat; we’re nonetheless in search of a glass-door fridge for dairy. These are all accessible to shoppers in our procuring space. We now have moved virtually every little thing sooner or later, which undoubtedly causes some discomfort for our volunteers who’ve been serving for a few years and are used to issues being in a distinct place.
We’re very grateful to our volunteers and our donors who’re making this potential. Generally progress requires change. Collectively, we’re taking an enormous step in direction of bringing hope to the hungry with fairness and dignity.
Amy Poos is director of operations at Glen-Ed Pantry in Edwardsville. She thinks about meals 90% of the time.