Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Lacey McCormack


Objectives: Food insecurity is an issue in rural communities, particularly among food pantry clients. Food pantries may not provide clients with the opportunity to choose their own foods (client choice), and instead may just give a set amount and type of foods. Client choice is important in regards to client health status as well as perceptions of autonomy and quality of life. Although client choice can be promoted in food pantries, it may be difficult to grasp the process of food pantry transitioning and how well changes such as these may be perceived by clients or food pantry personnel. We sought to determine the association between client choice within pantries and perceptions of food pantry client, staff/volunteer, and director in six Midwestern states. Methods: Degree of client choice within the pantry was determined using a study-developed MyChoice scorecard, which could range in score from 0 to 42. Change in MyChoice score from baseline to post-intervention (follow-up) was calculated. 191 rural food pantry clients completed baseline and follow-up data collection and were surveyed on their levels of satisfaction with amount, variety and choice of foods received from their food pantry. Differences in pre/post satisfaction scores were calculated and linear regression was used to determine the relationship between change in satisfaction score and change in MyChoice score while controlling for intervention status, sex and age. Additionally, 101 food pantry staff and volunteers and 41 food pantry directors were surveyed on their perceptions related to how food was displayed and distributed. Perception responses were dichotomized and logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between these outcomes and MyChoice score while controlling for intervention status, sex and age. Odds ratios and p-values are reported. Results: MyChoice observation scores improved over the course of the intervention (8.4±8.1). Overall changes within food pantries, as indicated by increases in choice scores, were positively perceived by pantry clients, staff/volunteers, and directors. Increases in client satisfaction with increases in MyChoice score were seen for amount (p=.041) and variety (p=.008) but not choice (p=.077). For pantry staff/volunteers, odds of reporting changes to the way foods were displayed and changes to the way foods were given out increased with increasing MyChoice score (both OR 1.2, pDiscussion and Conclusion: Satisfaction among pantry clients, staff/volunteers, and directors is not negatively impacted by the switch from less choice to more choice in food pantries, so this should not be a discouragement in making changes to improve client choice.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Food banks.
Food preferences.
Food security.
Nutrition -- Evaluation.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright