Grant Application Entries
God's Pantry Food Bank, Inc.
1685 Jaggie Fox Way
Lexington, Kentucky 40511
Kristin Ingwell Goode
Corporation and Foundation Relationships Officer
God’s Pantry Food Bank’s primary goal is to get more food into the hands of people who need it. Doing this requires an accurate understanding of who is in need of our services. GPFB has a large and diverse service area that covers 50 counties of Central and Eastern Kentucky. Fulfilling the Food Bank’s mission of effectively and efficiently reducing hunger in this region requires a better understanding of hunger in each community we serve. We need to be able to efficiently collect service data so we know who is being served, where, how often, and what they need. Possessing this knowledge directly impacts the Food Bank’s ability to improve standards of living, meet social purposes, and respond to the needs of Kentuckians. Currently we do not have recent, comprehensive data to direct or reflect the Food Bank’s activities.
Feeding America has developed a program framework called Service Insights to help food banks understand the ways data can be collected and used to improve their work. The Service Insights Project is a six-phase program designed to result in the successful collection of data from partner agencies through software and technology tailored specifically for this purpose (see attachment for an overview of the phases). The phases move from planning to maintenance and require input from all stakeholders at every stage. God’s Pantry Food Bank is among
While Feeding America has developed the framework and made some funding available, the work will happen at each individual Food Bank and at each partner agency. God’s Pantry Food Bank has 311 unique partner agencies that operate more than 450 programs such as food pantries, meal programs, senior centers, and other emergency food access. These partners are the critical distribution piece doing the hard work of feeding neighbors in need.
Most of the Food Bank’s partner agencies are grassroots, volunteer-run organizations. They don’t have the scale or scope to undertake a data collection project for the entire service area. Our goal as a Food Bank is to spearhead the project and make agency participation as easy as possible so our organization, and our partner agencies, can benefit from the results.
GPFB started laying the groundwork for this project in 2018 with a skilled team of volunteers doing a preliminary assessment. After successfully receiving a grant for $63,463 from Feeding America in March 2019, GPFB created a new, full time position specifically to lead the Food Bank through Service Insights. We are now one of 74 food banks nationwide actively working through the program (there are 200 Feeding America food banks) and one of only two in Kentucky who have started the program.
Krissy Gray is GPFB’s project lead with help from Chase McCuddy, the Food Bank’s IT administrator. Together, they completed the first phase, the Plan Phase, ahead of schedule and are moving GPFB into the Select phase, which has an anticipated end date of 2/28/21. The complete project is expected to reach full implementation by August 2023 when agencies will be trained and utilizing the data collection software on a daily or weekly basis (depending on frequency of service).
The total cost for the Select Phase (3/1/20 and 2/28/21) is $166,455. The majority of costs in both this phase, and throughout the project, are staff time, although after a technology vendor is selected and employed, costs in that category will grow significantly.
We just learned this week that we will be receiving $109,860 from Feeding America in support of this phase of the project. We are asking the Kentucky Social Welfare Foundation to consider a gift of $18,865 to cover the cost of one-third of the matching funds required to complete the Select Phase of this project so it can continue to move forward.
If we receive funding as a result of this proposal, we would potentially apply KSWF funds proportionally across all categories of the budget (personnel, technology, travel, and supplies) for the time period 3/2/20-2/28/21. However, if you would like to make a gift to one specific category, we welcome that conversation.
God’s Pantry Food Bank serves 50 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky that cover more than 16,000 square miles. Among the counties in our service area are 12 of the 25 poorest counties in the country by median income.
These 50 counties extend from Frankfort to Whitley City from North to South, and from Danville to Pikeville (and beyond), East to West. The area includes urban, suburban, and rural areas, and mirrors Kentucky’s overall population in that 87% of our clients are white, 7% are of mixed race, 5% are African American, and 1% are Hispanic. Of the households we serve, 41% include a child and 35% include a senior citizen.
U.S. Census data indicates that of the 1.4 million residents the service area, 257,000 are food insecure, meaning they may not have reliable access to enough food for every member of their household to lead a healthy and active life. These are the Kentuckians we work to serve.
58 paid staff. More than 13,000 volunteer instances annually.
The mission of God’s Pantry Food Bank is to reduce hunger in Kentucky through community cooperation, while making the best possible use of all available resources.
The goal of GPFB is to provide access to healthy food for anyone who is food insecure within a 50-county service area. We do this by partnering with other nonprofits that would like to offer food to those in need as part of their activities. In Lexington, this includes local libraries that offer a snack to kids after school, soup kitchens, and dozens of other programs. In Salyersville, London, Danville, and many other towns, we provide thousands of pounds of food and grocery products weekly to food pantries. At 92 locations we set up distribution points to host the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for senior citizens. All of these activities are driven by our mission to reduce hunger.
Specific goals for FY2020 (which ends June 30, 2020):
+ Distribute 38 million pounds of food (or enough food to create 31.6 million meals)
+ At least 30% of total poundage will be fresh fruits and vegetables
+ Operate at least 20 Summer Feeding sites, distribute 32,000 meals to children
+ Offer Commodity Supplemental Food Program for low-income senior citizens in 50 counties
+ Raise $4.2 million in donated funds to facilitate all of the above
Census data and other basic surveys tell us that of the approximately 1.4 million residents of the 50 counties within the Food Bank’s service area, 257,000 people are food insecure. However, this doesn’t go deeper and detail the type of information that applies to our work. We want to answer questions such as: how many people are in your home? What are their ages and dietary needs? Do you suffer from diet-related illnesses like heart disease and diabetes? Where do you receive food? Are there places food is needed but not accessible?
To help accomplish this we need to have a technological link to partner agencies to track their service activity in real time. Our current method is a monthly survey with the results plugged into Google docs. This method means that the data is extremely basic; only half of our agencies reply on a regular basis. Implementing technology in the manner outlined by Feeding America through the Service Insights project would:
- Provide a clear picture of who accesses food from GPFB and how often
- Help us better understand client needs and changes in demand as they occur
- Change the client experience to provide a higher level of service
- Better serve areas in need and reduce redundant service in the same area
- Use this data to illustrate scale, scope, and need to all stakeholders
We utilize the data we are currently able to capture to continuously improve our programs, reach new areas in need, tailor product sent to each area, and to provide more food to those who need it. Still, what we have doesn’t reflect input from a majority of our partner agencies. Additionally, most of the demographic data we have is from 2013.
Having an electronic system to be able to record and view data in real time, with a better percentage of participation, would mean having more data that is accurate and easily accessible in order to improve our programs and reach more people experiencing hunger. We will also share it widely.
Between approximately 1990 and 2014, Feeding America coordinated the Hunger Study. This nationwide effort employed the use of a statistics firm to detail sampling instructions and gave local food banks the opportunity to be a part of a national data collection process. However, Feeding America ceased that project in 2014 and did not immediately present a replacement for that high-quality data food banks had relied on accessing. As a result, the most comprehensive data available to God’s Pantry Food Bank is from 2013-14.
A data gap that significant is a barrier to basic operations and fundraising; two activities central to our work.
We do still access and use census data, and Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap (https://map.feedingamerica.org/) but neither is as comprehensive as the Hunger Study, particularly with data specifically related to who we are serving.
No. If this data was available from another organization or source, we would gladly use it.
The Hunger Study was the largest and most thorough data collection related to hunger in the U.S. and most food banks shared their service-area-specific results widely. When complete, the Service Insights project will have more long-term use than a Hunger Study because rather than being a one-time static data collection, it will be ongoing.
Thankfully, God’s Pantry Food Bank isn’t the only organization in Central and Eastern Kentucky working to reduce hunger. However, we are the largest in size, scope, and range. We also work to partner with as many hunger-relief programs as possible.
The long-term goal of the Service Insights Project is an accurate, statistical sample of the clients we serve. In the short term, i.e. by February 28, 2021, success will mean we have completed the Select Phase of the Service Insights project and moved into the Design Phase on time (by March 2021). We have many measures of success along the way. Feeding America has designed a full-scale overview with short and long-term outcomes as measurements for each phase. We are utilizing this overview extensively as a guideline for our work. We have not attached that document here as it is 19 pages long, but if the board of the KSWF would like to see it, we will be happy to share it.
When GPFB launched this program, the Board and Management Team made a commitment to ensure it continued, whether or not restricted gifts were secured to support it. That said, we have been and will continue to seek funders interested in supporting this program. We see its benefit and in the high-tech, data-driven world we live in, we feel there are funders who will definitely understand the crucial nature of this project. Feeding America has also made a commitment to this program and to date, has completed fundraising and offered grants totaling $1.6 million for Food Banks actively working on this project. All of those grants have a matching funds component.
As we pursue overall funding, our staff has also considered which portions of this program fall to us versus our partner agencies. GPFB believes the burden of the initial cost of the software should be on the Food Bank as we are the ones implementing the project and requesting agencies to participate. We have been discussing how to best fund and continue maintaining and upgrading the hardware and software. We have discussed the options of a cost-share program with our agencies.
God’s Pantry Food Bank and its partner agencies never charge a fee to clients.
The Food Bank may charge up to $0.19 per pound for some of the donated food it shares with partner agencies to cover handling costs. Some purchased items are sold at or slightly above our cost to cover warehousing and delivery. However, many items are completely free including all produce.
In 2015 GPFB received $9,000 toward the Food for Underserved Counties Program. That gift purchased 15 truckloads of food for counties that didn't have enough pantries to meet the need in their communities.
We also received $7,200 in funding for that same program and use in 2010.
In 2008 we received $8,890 for cooler equipment purchased for partner agencies.
In 2003 we received $15,000 toward a new freezer unit.
In 2001 the KSWF was one of four funders who donated $15,000 to purchase a new truck to transport food.