Giving Clients Choice Cuts Food Bank's Waste

A Plano food bank is eliminating waste by giving its clients choices.

Visitors to Minnie's Food Pantry are allowed to essentially select the food that best fits their needs.

Previously, Minnie's did what many pantries did: It packed boxes for people and passed them out as they came in for food.

“To my surprise, some people don't eat corn, and I was putting corn in every single box that walks out of here, which affects our bottom-line budget," said Cheryl Jackson, who runs the pantry.

And homeless clients sometimes received canned goods they couldn't open.

At a time when the hunger business is booming, Jackson couldn't afford the waste. She said her client binder has grown in width from 1 inch to 4 inches.

“Four-hundred-seventy-five clients per month and roughly about four to five people in the families, so over 2,000 people per month is what we're serving now,” she said.

Jackson's decision to let her clients pick what they want off the shelves has also led to environmental savings.

"We no longer have to pack the boxes anymore, because we're going green," she said.

Jackson also offers reusable shopping bags and cuts deals with local grocers, giving her clients access to fresh salads and fruit.

“The food is going to the right family -- the right type of food for the right family,” she said.

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