Catholic Community Services provides multiple food pick-up options

Catholic Community Services of Eugene and Springfield are good examples of FOOD For Lane County partner agencies that strive to provide the best customer services to food pantry participants.

CCS has switched back to the full shopping style at both of their food pantries. CCS also offers a drive-up option for those who prefer the convenience of picking up a pre-packed box with available items added at pick-up, which started during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCS manager Tami Kinman estimates that 80 percent of participants at the CCS Eugene location choose to do their own food pantry shopping with the rest using the drive-up option. However, at the Springfield location, Kinman said it’s about a 50-50 split between shopping and drive-up participants. CCS has created an online reservation procedure for drive-up participants, giving them a 30-minute window for picking up their food box.

FOOD For Lane County Executive Director Tom Mulhern says the options that CCS offers its food pantry participants highlight an interesting pandemic-related lesson learned. Food banking’s best practices recommend shopping style pantry distribution. However, given the realities at most pantries (hours, location and configuration), shopping style at a larger pantry often means waiting in line, sometimes times for 30 minutes or longer.

What CCS and others have learned is that some participants prefer to sacrifice some choice in order to have a faster and more convenient food box pick-up experience. The challenge for the pantries and FFLC is to provide good customer service to its food pantry participants.

By FOOD For Lane County