Community Food Pantry: Client needs assessment

Project title

Client Needs Assessment

Research question

The Community Food Pantry seeks to gain a better understanding of our current client's needs related to their Social Determinants of Health. The Pantry is trying to find out if there are any improvements or changes that need to be made to meet our client's needs. 


The Community Food Pantry (The Pantry) started as a ministry of the St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The Pantry ran out of a closet for 10 plus years. In 2008 as the need in the community grew, the services of the pantry did as well. At that time Pantry Leadership partnered with The Food Bank of Northern Nevada to expand the operation into 3 rooms in the church. For 10 years the pantry was 100% volunteer-run, and provided food assistance to people in need in the Truckee Meadows. At its peak the pantry volunteers served 30,000 people in 201. In 2016 the Pantry became its own 501c3 organization and began operating independently from the church.

In 2018 The Pantry launched a mobile distribution program that provides shelf-stable food to seniors living in weekly motels and senior living centers in Washoe County. This program is supported through a grant from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Disability Services. This grant allowed The Pantry to hire its first staff member. In the last three years, the pantry's capacity for service delivery has surged. The organization has grown into an off-site location, with 2 more staff, and multiple vehicles.

The Pantry is open for distribution 3 days a week. While only serving clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the pantry is bustling 5 days a week. With food delivery, restocking, pre-packaging, and distribution preparation on Thursday and Friday. On average, the Community Food Pantry serves approximately 265 households and 610 individuals between the fixed and mobile programs each week.

In March of 2020 when COVID hit the Truckee Meadows, almost overnight Nevada shut down. In April of 2020, unemployment in Reno was 20.5% with 45,573 displaced from the labor market. This COVID jobs crash happened on the heels of a housing crisis in the Truckee Meadows. In March of 2020, The Pantry immediately pivoted to a drive-through distribution model at our fixed location. There was no service disruption for our fixed or mobile clients.

Our numbers continue to remain steady, we see on average 135 new people each month, we have not seen any decrease.



Develop and Design a Survey to collect information from the Community Food Pantry's Mobile and Fixed clients
Data Collection and analysis
Summary of findings with recommendations for program changes

Suggested skills

Survey design experience or evaluation development experience would be helpful

Some data analysis experience would be helpful

However, at minimum, The Community Food Pantry's mission is to nourish and serve those most in need with respectful voices and actions. Ideally, we would work with someone that feels personally invested in furthering that mission.


Agency representative

Elyse Monroy

(775) 432-5533