Virginia Food Pantry Evaluation

  • Burnett, Camille (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


The University of Kentucky, working in partnership with the University of Virginia Institute for Engagement & Negotiation, and collaborating with research experts in big data (Dr. Ha Do Byon, UVA School of Nursing) and geospatial social mapping (Dr. Andrew Mondschein, UVA Urban and Environmental Planning), will conduct an evaluation for the Federation of Virginia Food Banks (FVFB) of its Healthy Food Pantry Pilot Project (HFPPP). The HFPPP aims to effectively improve access by food insecure people to nutritious food through a program, with the goal of improving client health through provision of healthy food choices that encourage healthy eating from a variety of food groups. The goal is to deliver healthy foods to vulnerable populations to promote health, with a model of effective delivery that is scalable, replicable, or adaptable by other health systems. This initiative is being launched by the FVFB with seven Virginia Food Banks, each of which are testing the Healthy Food Pantry model with two to five food pantries. The evaluation of the HFPPP seeks to determine the effectiveness of this initiative along several parameters, described below, and will evaluate a sampling of both participating and, for comparison, non-participating Virginia food pantries. Ten Healthy Food Pantries and ten non-participating food pantries will be selected to represent a range of rural to urban regions representing Virginia’s diverse geographic and cultural demographics. The evaluation will begin in Fall 2019 and be completed by December 31, 2020. The overriding question of the HFPPP evaluation is to determine whether access by food insecure people to nutritious food can be improved through a healthy food pantry that offers healthy food choices. The evaluation will identify structural and operational barriers experienced by food pantries to obtaining and providing a selection of healthy foods to their clients, and to screening for and identifying people who need access to these foods, as well as barriers experienced by food insecure individuals in accessing the food pantry and healthy foods. Qualitative and quantitative data collected through personal interviews and pantry client surveys, from both participating and non-participating food pantries, will be compiled, analyzed, and compared to identify trends and insights that can inform guidance and recommendations to the FVFB for how to improve vulnerable population health through the Healthy Food Pantry initiative. Throughout this evaluation, the UK-UVA team proposes to work closely with the FVFB director and a small advisory team of 2 or 3 people drawn from Virginia food banks and pantries, in the design of both the qualitative food pantry staff interviews and quantitative food pantry client surveys. The FVFB will share data gathered quarterly from the food banks, and other data, for use in the evaluation. Details of the evaluation research questions and method are outlined below.
Effective start/end date8/1/198/13/21


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