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Claudia Gumina

Independent Study
KSCDI

The Community Kitchen: Program Evaluation Survey

Introduction

Food insecurity has increasingly and alarmingly become more common
within households in the past years (Gundersen, Kreiger and Pepper, 2011). With
searing unemployment rates and low minimum wages (U.S. Department of Labor), it
is not surprising that families across the country find themselves struggling to make
ends meet and put food on the table. Because of this, food pantries and soup
kitchens have become an important resource for people who cannot afford sufficient
groceries to meet their nutritional needs. By alleviating financial stress, food
assistance programs provide families with emotional and economical relief. At this
point, there is growing evidence that food assistance programs help reduce food
insecurity, and it is because of this, that we chose to focus our study on the impact
that The Community Kitchen has had on its clients.
The Community Kitchen (TCK) is a program that provides supplemental food
boxes to qualifying individuals based on income and number of family members. At
their facilities, they receive donations from several major grocery store branches
and this allows them to provide their clients with a relatively balanced diet. Besides
helping with food, TCK also offers nutrition education, service referrals and
sometimes provides participants with non-food items like vitamins, shampoo, etc.
To assess the impact that TCK has had on its clients, we designed a survey,
which focused on determining how the services provided resulted in changes in the
lives of its participants. At the time of the survey, TCK was looking to receive more
funding from different companies and needed further proof of the effect that is has
in the community. With the survey, we aimed to measure changes in financial
stress, ways in which the resources provided helped allocate money towards other
expenses, changes in nutritional habits and decreases in food insecurity. The results
were for the most part positive and provided us with feedback, which will be taken
into account when modifying processes at TCK.














Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI

Methods

For the purposes of this study, a survey was selected as the tool used to
assess client responses. Initially, the survey was created based on the questions
suggested by United Way in order to assess client satisfaction at TCK. As the study
became more developed, more questions were added in order to profile our
population and inquire about further needs that they may have. We did not only
want to learn about changes in their finances, but also about whether their
nutritional needs and emergency food needs were being met. Once all the questions
were selected and revised, we decided that the survey was going to be given to
participants in person, having the researchers read the questions and record the
answers themselves.
We decided to survey clients on two different days to have a variety of clients
in our sample. On the days answers were collected, we recruited participants as they
were in line to pick up food from TCKs facilities. All participants were consenting
adults, who regularly attended The Community Kitchen and were able to answer
survey questions without assistance to avoid sampling any vulnerable individuals.
We also made sure that the people selected were those who had received services
from TCK for an extended period of time so that we could measure change.
Once answers were collected, the data was input into survey monkey as
individual responses to be analyzed by the program.























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Independent Study
KSCDI

Survey Questions:

1. What is your age? Please circle your answer.

18- 30 30-60 60+

2. What best describes your household? Please circle your answer

1 adult 2 or more adults adult(s) and child(ren)

3. Do you receive other benefits?

Yes No

If yes, please specify:

Food stamps or snap benefits
Disability benefits
Subsidized school payments

4. Have the resources provided at The Community Kitchen been helpful to you
and/or your family?

Yes No

If yes, what has it helped with?

Grocery bills
Nutrition education
Getting a more wholesome diet
Other:____________________________

5. Since coming to The Community Kitchen, do you feel you have a better
understanding of healthy eating habits?

Yes No

6. How have your eating habits changed?

I eat more whole grains
I consume less added sugar
I eat more fruits and vegetables
Other:____________________________

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Independent Study
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7. Do you feel The Community Kitchen provides proper and sufficient nutrition
to meet your needs from the five food groups?

Yes No

On a scale of 1 to 5, how well have they been met? Please circle your answer.

1 2 3 4 5



8. Have you or your family ever skipped a meal or eaten less because they were
short of food?

Yes No

9. Do you feel your/your familys emergency food needs have been met?

Yes No

10. On a scale of 1 to 5, how challenging was food shopping before receiving help
from The Community Kitchen? Please circle your answer.

1 2 3 4 5


11. How challenging is it now that you are receiving help from The Community
Kitchen? Please circle your answer.

1 2 3 4 5



12. Does getting food from The Community Kitchen allow you to use money
towards other expenses?

Yes No

Please circle any areas in which this money has been used:

Rent
Utilities
Healthcare
Transportation

Challenging Not challenging
Challenging Not challenging
Not Met Well Met
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Independent Study
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13. If we gave out a non-food item once a month which of these would be more
useful to your household?

Clothes washing detergent
Dish washing detergent
Toothpaste
Toilet rolls





































Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI

Results

The answer to all 13 questions were recorded and collected and these were the
results:

Demographics:

Graph and Table 1: Participant Age




Out of 40 participants, 62.5% stated being between 30 and 60 years old, making this
the most likely age of our population. 30% reported being 60 or older and 7.5%
reported being under 30.








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Independent Study
KSCDI

Graph and Table 2: Household Description



50% of participants stated living in a household consisting of adults and children.
30% live on their own and 20% live with one or more adults. Based on this, we can
infer that most of TCKs participants live and take care of children.
















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Independent Study
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Graph and Table 3: Other Benefits Received

85% of participants answered that they do receive other benefits besides the food
and toiletries provided at TCK. Most of the participants require assistance from
different organizations to make ends meet.

Specific benefits received will be listed in the next question.


















Graph and Table 4: Benefits Received
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
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As can be seen from this graph and chart, out of the 34 people who reported
receiving other benefits in the previous question, 48.39% receive food stamps or
SNAP benefits, 41.94% receive disability benefits, 16.13% receive fuel or electric
assistance, 12.90% are enrolled in Medicaid and 9.68% receive social security
benefits. Other respondents reported getting help from WIC, Meals of Wheels and
receiving unemployment benefits. Please note respondents could chose more than
one option.






Impact:
Graph and Table 5: Impact of Resources Provided at TCK
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Independent Study
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Based on results from this question, the resources provided at TCK helped all
participants and their families by reducing financial and familial stress.


















Graph and Table 6: Ways in which TCK has helped.
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI



As can be seen on this graph, almost all participants (94.87%) reported that
TCK has helped with grocery bills, and almost half (46.15%) reported getting a more
wholesome diet thanks to the help received. Not many participants (15.38%)
reported being helped with nutrition education at TCK. 1 participants stated that
TCK has helped him with balancing. Please note respondents could chose more
than one option.









Graph and Table 7: Eating Habits Understanding
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Independent Study
KSCDI
60% percent of participants reported that they have a better understanding of their
eating habits, while 40% did not think that was the case.



















Graph and Table 8: Eating Habits Change
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Independent Study
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18 people skipped this question and we assume it is because they did not feel their
eating habits have changed. Of those who responded, 22.73% believe that they eat
more grains since receiving food from TCK, 18.18% believe they consume less sugar
and 86.36% believe they eat more fruits and vegetables. Please note respondents
could chose more than one option. Other participants stated that their eating habits
have changed by: watching what we eat more, I eat more added sugar, eating
less junk food and being generally healthier.








Graph and Table 9: Meeting needs from the 5 food groups.
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
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85% of respondents stated that they feel The Community Kitchen provides proper
nutrition to meet their needs from the 5 food groups. 15% did not feel that way.


















Graph and Table 10: Rating of ability of TCK to meet nutrition needs
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Independent Study
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Most participants (45%) reported that their nutrition needs have been well met by
selecting a 5 on this question. We can assume that those participants that stated that
their needs from the 5 food groups have not been met in the last question were the
ones who selected 1 and 2 for this question.




















Graph and Table 11: Skipped Meals
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Independent Study
KSCDI


45% of participants reported having skipped a meal or eaten less because they were
short of food.



















Graph and Table 12: Food Emergency Needs
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
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87.5% of participants reported that their emergency food needs have been met.
12.5% did not feel that way.




















Graph and Table 13: Food Shopping Experience Rating - Before

Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI
When asked to rate their food shopping experience before receiving help from TCK,
on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not challenging and 5 very challenging), most
participants rated their experience as a three, yielding an average of 3.63 in
difficulty.
















Graph and Table 14: Food Shopping Experience Rating After
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI
As can be seen on this graph, after coming to The Community Kitchen, food
shopping has become less challenging for participants; going from a 3.63 to a 2.15.
This indicates a decrease of 1.48.
















Graph and Table 15: Money Allocation
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI
90% of participants stated that getting food from The Community allowed them to
use money towards other expenses. 10% stated that it did not.

















Graph and Table 16: Areas in which extra money has been used.
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI


Most participants stated that they used the money saved from getting food from
TCK in utilities, 50% said it helped with rent, 38.89% with healthcare and 47% with
transportation. Please note respondents could chose more than one option.









Graph and Table 17: Other items they would like to receive at TCK
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI

The majority of participants (62.5%) stated that they would like to receive clothes
washing detergent along with their food. 45% would like toilet paper, 35% dish
washing detergent and 15% would like toothpaste. There was one respondent who
stated he would like vitamins. Please note respondents could chose more than one
option.






Discussion

Based on our results, we can infer that most recipient of TCKs services are
adults between the ages of 30 and 60, living in households with adults and children.
Other participants are mostly older adults, living on their own (See Graphs and
Tables 1 and 2). 85% of survey takers receive other benefits, which gives us a
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI
picture of how big their needs really are. We know that they do not only struggle to
pay for food, but for basic utilities like electricity and gas (See Graphs and Tables 3
and 4).
One of the main questions in our survey was, Have the resources provided at
The Community Kitchen been helpful to you and/or your family? and responses to
this question were overwhelmingly positive. 100% of respondents stated that TCK
had helped their families in different aspects (See Graph and Table 5). Because of
the results to this question, we can state that The Community Kitchen has definitely
had an impact in the lives of its clients.
Most participants (94.87%) stated that TCK has helped them with grocery bills
and getting a more wholesome diet (46%) (See Graph and Table 6). However, not
that many reported that TCK helped them with nutrition education, making this an
area in which we could improve. It is possible that clients are not aware of the
services provided at TCK, making them unable to receive nutrition education.
60% of participants reported having a better understanding of healthy eating
habits since coming to TCK. This demonstrates how TCK has helped change its
participants eating habits. However, 40% of respondents reported no change (see
Graph and Table 7). The reason for which participants may feel they do not have a
better understanding of healthier eating habits could be because they felt they
already had good habits before coming to TCK and this is something that should be
taken into consideration.
86% of the people who reported that their eating habits changed report eating
more fruits and vegetables since receiving food from TCK. This is a great change and
could be attributed to the gleaning program, which takes place in the summer and
efforts to include more of these products in family packages (See Graph and Table
8).
85% of respondents reported TCK provides them with proper nutrition to
meet their needs from the 5 food groups (See Graph and Table 9). Those who did
not feel this way could have based their answer on the fact that they have special
diets and because of financial limitations, TCK cannot provide specific food items for
those on restricted diets.
On average, participants rated how well their nutrition needs have been met as
a 4 on a scale of 1-5, making us believe that their needs have been met for the most
part (See Graph and Table 10). This concurs with the results recorded for the
previous questions in which most people believe their needs were met.
To measure food insecurity, we asked, Have you or your family ever skipped a
meal or eaten less because they were short of food? 45% of respondents said yes,
which indicates a high level of food insecurity among TCK clients. To follow this
question, we asked, Do you feel your/your familys emergency food needs have
been met? 87.50% of participants said yes (See Graphs and Tables 11 and 12). This
demonstrates how TCK has helped decrease food insecurity among its customers by
allowing them to have food in their houses during time of economical stress.
Before receiving food from TCK, difficulty in food shopping was reported as a
3.63 on a scale of 1-5. After, difficulty decreased to a 2.15 (See Graphs and Tables 13
and 14). These values show how receiving benefits from TCK helps participants
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provide food for themselves and their families by decreasing the challenges
presented by food shopping when on a very tight budget. Because participants were
able to save money from grocery shopping, they are able to use this money towards
other expenses as evidenced by the responses to the question, Does getting food
from The Community Kitchen allow you to use money towards other expenses?
90% of participants said that the services provided at TCK allowed them to allocate
their money demonstrating another way in which TCK helps its clients.
Regarding limitations of the study, we believe that we could have used a bigger
sample size, even though 40 participants represented 10% of the weekly
population. Also, because the surveys were given out in-person, participants may
have felt pressured to respond in ways in which they thought the interviewers
wanted them to.
TCK has been able to help its clients afford other services like transportation,
healthcare and utilities and because of this, their efforts are valued in the
community. The amount of help they provide is immeasurable and many of its
clients would not be able to afford basic commodities without it. Based on the
results obtained in this survey, we can state that the community kitchen has a major
effect in the lives of those who receive its services and many would not be able to
make ends meet without its help. We recommend the Community Kitchen keeps
providing their highly valued services, while making the population more aware of
other programs they offer, increasing nutrition education and healthy eating habits
changes.

















References

Gundersen, C., Kreider, B., & Pepper, J. (2011). The Economics of Food Insecurity in
the United States. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policies, 33(3), 281-303.

Minimum Wage - Wage and Hour Division (WHD) - U.S. Department of Labor.
Claudia Gumina
Independent Study
KSCDI