Joy On Aisle Two
We are lucky to have Anslee Boozer interning with us this summer. A rising sophomore & communications major at Furman University, this is Anslee’s second blog about her experiences with Loaves & Fishes!
Thursday afternoons may be the highlight of my week. I step out of the office away from my comfortable chair and comfort zone and head downtown to serve at the First Presbyterian Loaves & Fishes food pantry. My first Thursday interning at the pantry was much different from my second Thursday. First Pres. has made the transition to client choice! Clients get to shop in the pantry with one volunteer assisting them to make sure they are on track with the guidelines given to them based on their family size. This system offers so much dignity and empowerment to our clients.
Men and women both loved their first client choice shopping experience. Some stood at our shelves for minutes deciding what item would suit their needs best, while others knew exactly what they wanted and were done shopping in no time! Many clients were a bit overwhelmed at the selection. I began to give recipe and cooking suggestions, pairing different foods and flavors. A lot of great ideas were cooking at the pantry last week! Clients may be enjoying pasta dishes, homemade pizza, a summery green been salad and maybe even some corn salsa this week! With the transition that Loaves & Fishes is making to client choice, we are able to serve our clients better. We are able to meet their needs in a personal way. A lot less food is going to waste because clients are able to select what they like and what they will be able to prepare.
Some of our clients’ teenage children shopped with them and described the experience like getting to shop at Walmart! Client choice empowers not only our customers but also breaks down barriers and boundaries between clients and volunteers. Shopping along side our clients, assisting them aisle by aisle, enabled me to walk in their shoes, experiencing the joy of the new client choice system from their perspective.