Every two years, Food For Free conducts a survey of Home Delivery clients to assess the effectiveness of the program. A fourteen-question survey was distributed to all 60 Home Delivery clients in February and March 2012. Responses were anonymous. Forty one surveys were returned to Food For Free, for a 68% response rate.
Questions are listed below, in bold, followed by a summary of the responses.
Question 1. How often would you like to receive the following foods in your monthly delivery? Please check one for each food item (every month, every 2 months, or never).
Responses were scored as follows:
Every month: 1
Every 2 months: 2
Average scores ranged from 1.2 (assorted meat and yogurt) to 2.0 (grapefruit). Apples, bananas, broccoli, cheese, eggs, juice, milk, onions, orange, and tomatoes all shared an average score of 1.3. The least popular items were canned beans, hot cereal, rice, and grapefruit, with scores ranging from 1.7-2. It is worth noting that even these items were desired monthly or bi-monthly by many clients. Grapefruit has its lovers and its haters. Thirty nine percent of clients want it every month, and an equal number never want to receive it.
Question 2. Are there other foods that you would like to receive in your monthly food delivery? Please list.
The most frequently named foods were brown rice, coffee, frozen vegetables, and sweet potatoes, each listed by three clients.
Question 3. How long does the Home Delivery food last?
On average, clients found that their deliveries lasted for two weeks. Thirteen percent found that the food lasted one week or less, while 38% found that it lasted three weeks or more.
Question 4. Are you able to prepare the food on your own?
90% of respondents reported being able to prepare the food on their own, 10% reported not being able to prepare food on their own.
This is the first year that this question appeared in the client survey. Follow up questions in future surveys may include asking about specific challenges or limitations to food preparation, and whether Home Delivery can provide certain foods to better address these issues (such as pre-cut fruits and vegetables, frozen items, or heat & serve items.)
Question 5. Do you have any of the following health issues?
The most commonly listed health issues were: high blood pressure, 54 % of clients; arthritis, 49%; diabetes, 44%; and dental problems, 34%. Fifty four clients listed other health issues. Mental health issues were listed by several clients.
Question 6. How often do you currently eat these foods? Include both foods that you receive from Home Delivery and all other foods. Please check one box for each food item.
Question 9. How often did you eat these foods before you joined the Home Delivery program? Please check one box for each food item.
Clients reported an increase in frequency of consumption for all food items. The largest changes were observed for fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, which are also the categories that are consumed most frequently. Only 23% of respondents reported eating fresh fruit once a day or more before joining the program, while 75% of respondents stated that they now eat fresh fruit once a day or more. The percentage of respondents who eat fresh vegetables once a day or more increased from 31% before joining the program to 74% while in the program.
Question 7. How often do you currently skip meals because you don’t have any food at home? Please check one box.
Question 10. How often did you skip meals before you joined the Home Delivery program? Please check one box.
Sixty two percent of clients report currently skipping meals once a month or more, compared to 74% before joining the program. The biggest change was seen in the percent of clients reporting that they skip meals at least once a week (from 26% before joining the Home Delivery program to 16% after joining the program).
Question 8. How often do you currently choose between buying food and paying for utility bills, heating bills, rent, or medications because you don't have enough money? Please check one box.
Question 11. Before you joined the Home Delivery program, how often did you choose between buying food and paying for utility bills, heating bills, rent or medication because you didn't have enough money? Please check one box.
Thirty five percent of clients report that, even on the Home Delivery program, they have to choose between buying food and paying for utility bills, heating bills, rent or medication at least once a month.
Question 13. Do you have any suggestions for how we can improve the Home Delivery program in general?
Many suggestions for improvement were offered. Some main themes for suggestions include:
• Providing contact information to clients for last minute/emergency changes on delivery day
• Offering a choice of food items in each box, or allowing clients to opt out of receiving certain items (for example: red meat, pork, cheese, dairy or gluten items, soft foods for dental problems).
• Making more frequent deliveries (such as weekly instead of monthly)
• Making deliveries on same Saturday each month
• Including references for other home care resources, such as home care assistance, help cleaning or doing household chores
Question 14. Is there anything else about the program you would like us to know?
Clients offered many comments. Overall, comments were very positive, with special thanks often given to Simon. A few examples:
• Simon is courteous and friendly and respectful.
• I have benefited greatly from this program.
• This has kept me from starving.
• I hope you don't change the delivery man, he is so nice. I am bedridden and he also speaks to me so nice. I like him, God bless you.