Food For Change
Strategically distributes food as a catalyst to motivate client participation in partner social service programs with measurable outcomes.
The Food for Change program provides food to individuals as a motivation to complete programs that can potentially lift them out of poverty or improve their lives. Ultimately, Food for Change would reduce the number of families who need food assistance and lead them to self-sufficiency.
Food scholarships are a central feature of the Food for Change model. As the program develops, clients will receive food scholarships when they commit to completion of programs that can lead them to self-sufficiency. Food scholarships reduce financial pressure by covering a portion of household grocery costs so clients can focus on improving their lives.
Food scholarship recipients receive a voucher they can redeem for groceries during visits twice each month to designated scholarship food pantries strategically located near clients throughout the greater Houston area. A typical food distribution includes up to 60 pounds of healthy food, half of it produce. Pantries use the “client choice” method of food distribution, which allows individuals to select the nutritious foods they wish to take home.
As with traditional scholarships, recipients of food scholarships must maintain eligibility through their participation in programs in five categories: education, employment, health, housing or family finances.
Food for Change integrates food into evidence-based programs that measure client outcomes and can be expanded or replicated. For example:
- Education: A community college vocational nursing program
- Employment: Forklift training offered by a job training agency
- Health: A diabetes management program at a Federally Qualified Health Center
- Housing: Home buyer education for residents of low income housing
- Family finances: Education for clients who want to decrease their debt and expenses
We will measure success by tracking specific outcomes from each program to see if food scholarships help people complete the program and achieve their goals. The Food Bank has employed a researcher to handle collection and analysis of data from each program.