There has been increasing food insecurity cases in Indiana that suggest the access to food by low-income households is limited or does not exist at all. This is illustrated by more than 175,000 people in Marion County that represent over 40,000 children that have limited access to adequate food. The state has a false sense of food security and that is why in response to the epidemic, Food seekers Inc. 2015 launched Food for the soul program to bridge the food security gap for the low-income households. This evaluation is designed to determine the effectiveness of the program in the state. The evaluation seeks to answer questions on the credibility of the program from a number of investors.
Food insecurity is a bane in Indianapolis taking a toll on health, education and the state’s economy at large. More than 175,000 people are food insecure in the region (America, 2011). According to USDA, people in Indiana especially the low-income households have limited or uncertain access to adequate food. In response to the epidemic, Food seekers Inc. launched Food for the soul program to bridge the food security gap for the low-income households. The program has a mission to deliver food and seasonal wraps to disadvantaged families in areas termed as “food deserts”. Today, Food for the soul program has stayed true to its mission of supplying food to needy families meeting its initial target of serving 500 families in six months.
The program food for the soul is aiming to increase its reach to more needy families in low-income neighbourhoods as well as support the needy. The program currently works on delivery where a needy family goes online to the website and schedules a delivery that can only be received once in thirty days.
Food for the soul program requires a comprehensive evaluation plan to ascertain the effectiveness of the current program in place through identification of the appropriate program goals and objectives. Food for the soul requires an evaluation plan to devise a methodology for identifying the right youth population to be served, quantify the need for its increasing population, and acquire the necessary services to be effective with this group. The program expansion plans are on course and therefore they require diverse funding streams to meet the growing needs of the program.
The purpose of this evaluation is to understand how best their current food for the soul program is effective and how best to move forward with the program as well as being able to improve its quality. The evaluation will focus on assessing the current program outputs and the preferred outcomes of the programs. The evaluation will also provide a framework for the use of a needs assessment in the redevelopment of this program. This evaluation should be able to provide assessment tools for measuring the effectiveness of the current system and the overall program. This will provide feedback regarding the possible improvements that need to be made and considered in its expansion program.
BACKGROUND AND DESCRIPTION OF THE FOOD FOR SOUL PROGRAM AND PROGRAM LOGIC MODEL
The food for soul program is required by the low-income households to combat the rise of food insecurity in Indiana. The program targets needy families, especially those disadvantaged in low-income neighbourhoods. These families do not have much access to food or if they do, their access is limited. Consequently, food insecurity is disrupting education and health of affected families (Kendall et.al 1995). The need for food insecurity in Indiana s high and if the problem is not dealt with, there is a possibility we are looking at a marauding epidemic.
Indiana has a growing population that is often at the risk of going hungry and is not eligible for government food assistance (Cook et. al 2004). This disturbing situation affects about 31 per cent of the state residents. Most of this population have turned to churches and civic organizations for help to acquire enough to feed themselves. Indiana food insecurity ranges from about 9 per cent of those in Hamilton County to a high of about 18 per cent in Marion. It is so unfortunate that those that go hungry are unable to access nutrition programs. Food for the soul program targets this population in low-income neighbourhoods by offering free food and deliveries in response to this need.
The objectives of the food for the soul program is to curb food insecurity in Indiana, improve access to food by needy families and increase food security in the state.
The target population for the food for the soul program is the low-income households that do not have enough food or have limited access to food.
Program theory development
Inputs-Food for the soul is an input in itself because it entails the resources required to facilitate the supply of food to the beneficiary households, that food is available, the funds to purchase the same is available, Vehicles, office space, office supplies, a base camp or warehouse and the personnel are available in the form of the program set forth. The program provides all the resources in the form of their own cooperation and the continued supply of food to needy families.
Activities– Registration and verification of beneficiary households and the exact number of the population in need is the first activity the program does to enhance its mission to supply food to the needy. The program coordinator who also acts as the president of the program oversees the entire process that provides the needy with the opportunity to order for deliveries. Procurement and delivery of food to the warehouse is the second activity. This ensures that the orders made by the needy households can actually be met without running out of stock of supplies. Warehousing control and dispatch is the third activity which entails the dispatch of the supplies to households that ordered for the deliveries in a first come first serve basis. Food distribution is the last activity.
Outputs-If the mediating conditions and activities are met, one output the program gets to achieve is the registration and verification of beneficiary household. The commodities ordered are then procured timely and the monthly food distributions conducted.
Outcomes-Outcomes of the food for the soul program includes the increased food consumption by low-income needy households, increased food security for the households and increased food availability for the households as well.
Program Logic model
|Inputs||Activities||Outputs||Immediate outcomes||Intermediate outcomes||Ultimate outcome|
· Office space
· Office supplies
· Food for soul
|· Registration and verification of beneficiary household
· Procurement and delivery of food to the warehouse
· Warehousing control and dispatch
· Food distribution
|Registration and verification of beneficiary household
Monthly food distributions conducted
|Increased food availability for the households||Increased orders and food consumption by beneficiary households||Increased food security for low-income households|
The participants in the evaluation were the main users of the evaluation findings. The stakeholder intends to use the evaluation finding for different purposes such as to determine whether the program needs funding to expand its services to the needy families, implement changes to the existing program to enhance its effectiveness. The findings will be used to adjust certain practices that the program implemented before as well.
The evaluation team will come up with many evaluation questions during its initial discussions and brainstorming sessions to come up with the appropriate questions. I, however, believe the evaluation team will prioritize questions that mirror the aspects of the program.
The following questions will be asked to ascertain whether the program is implemented as required:
- Has the staff been equipped?
- Has the program reached more families?
To ascertain whether the program has met its objectives:
- Have more families received food access from the program?
- Is the food security issue solved?
The Food Seekers Inc is focused on the realization of the objective to bridge the food security gap between the low-income earners and the high-income earners in the subject society. thus, its efforts area channelled toward equalization of the delivery of food. Thus, the 30-day target is the typical pay date for most workers. Thus, the increment of the low-income earners’ food at the end of the month will help bridge the said gap. The local funder has sufficient reason to trust the capacity of the organization. Nevertheless, there is a need for the outline of the implementation program considering the groceries, a second truck and drivers’ addition by the funder.
The first step of the implementation is to create the necessary public awareness through available and affordable media. The organization has achieved its annual target of 500 households in six months. Therefore, there are surplus resources that can be channelled to the creation of public awareness in anticipation of the funder’s input. The television is the most effective communication channel that can help create the increment in public awareness of the organization’s activities in the community. Thus, the organization’s marketing department will design a promotional message that will be aired to the target audience.
Also, the website operated by the Food Seekers Inc will act as a promotional platform. It is afforested that the households in need of the food aid order the supplies via the organization’s website. Therefore, there is a chance to utilize the platform as a communication platform since it is accessed by all the households facing food insecurity. Notably, the television advertisement will inform the households interested in accessing the food supplies to access the organization’s website. Thus, the messages to be posted on the website will be viewed by even more people.
The organization will also utilize social media platforms such a Twitter and Facebook to call for both subscription and funding for the food security project. It is appreciable that many people in the contemporary society utilize the social media platforms often. Thus, the Food Seekers Inc will use their twitter handle and the Facebook page to create the public awareness. In addition to the mass and social media approaches, the organization will designate one day on which the truck will be used a s promotional caravan. It will be driven through the community informing the members of the society that feel are eligible for the food aid to access the website and subscribe. Also, those that feel they can fund the project will be welcome to channel their resources through the announce bank accounts.
It is worth noting that the communication on the website is not only the call for registration as a funder and needy but also the selection of the food supplies preferred. The emergence of the local funder providing their surplus groceries avails the necessary variety that can be used by the food-insecure households. Also, it reduces the budgetary need of the organization besides creating a chance for the expansion of the services offered.
After addressing the awareness creation section of the implementation strategy, the focus is turned towards the assimilation of the local funder into the program. Firstly, they will be invited to the organization’s offices to outline how they will render their resources. It involves the days that the truck and its driver will be accessible and the groceries that they will supply to the organization and their respective quantitative. As such, the organization will set the household quota such as the quantity that each family will receive in addition to the food supplies that they used to receive. Also, consideration will be made regarding the additional registrations of the needy families requiring the aid. The fueling of the truck will be under the jurisdiction of the organization. The delivery of the food will be scheduled depending on the new numbers due to the post-re-advertisement registrants and the availability of the second truck and the groceries from the local funder. The evaluation of the achievement of the goals will be carried out periodically, effectively after the deliveries are done. It will encompass the regathering of the quantitative and qualitative data regarding the effectiveness of the project by the Food Seekers Inc in collaboration with the funders.
The food for the soul program is not as expansive as such and therefore the evaluation team tailored its data sources to the ones that were earlier discussed. The dire need for in-depth information to improve the program will push the team to the limit. Comparison of the data collected will be done by the designated team. All calls and discussions held in the process will be compared to the current program in use. The success and failure of the current system will be used as the standard for any evaluations to be carried out by the team.
Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment Strategy Methods
In order for the organization to evaluate the food for soul program effectively, data will be collected. Data will be collected using both quantitative and qualitative assessment strategies. These strategies will be combined to illustrate the currently existing situation of the program. The strategies will also help re-engineer the program to fulfil its mission.
The first method of data collection will be the use of a focus group that will consist of the youth population, low-income beneficiary households that have been on the program, and the program’s stakeholders. The focus group will provide us with qualitative data on the existing system of the food for soul program. It will also allow the participants to express their views to stakeholders about their experience with the program at hand and how it can be improved. We are looking at the focus group as a method through which unnecessary information that we did not intend to acquire will also pop up. The stakeholders holed up in the focus group will share their concerns with the participants and the impact of certain decisions that may have been made in the process. They would also share on how the operations of the program are carried out on a day-to-day basis. This information will give the evaluators an insight on the fails the program has so far experienced as well as the successes. The information from the focus group is a vital piece of the entire evaluation process.
Identification of candidates for the focus group
The youth population and the low-income beneficiary households will be selected based on their locations, their willingness to be in the focus group, their availability for the focus group and their active role in the program. The focus group aims at providing in-depth information since it will be the most important source of information for the evaluation. The focus group is scheduled to take one hour at most.
For the selection of the candidates to represent the low-income beneficiary households and the youth, phone meetings will be scheduled for the candidates to ascertain their suitability for the exercise, if one is not suitable then another person will be sought. The meetings might as well be scheduled at the candidates’ place of work or location to enhance quick response and realization of the timeline set forth by the organization.
The questions to be asked are designed to enhance open discussions in the group. They are also designed to be easy to answer on the spot. The knowledge required for the youth population included:
- Their attitude towards the food for soul program
- Some of the operating systems in use at the program
- How often they access the program’s website
Some of the questions that we will ask the candidates are outlined below:
- What impact has food for the soul program had in your life in the last 6 months?
- What do you consider a failure by the program?
- What are some of the successes that the program has had?
- What do you think needs to be done for the program to achieve its mission?
An electronic survey will be used as the last mode of data collection for the evaluation process of the program. This survey will be sent to the stakeholders that were involved in the focus group. It will be used to garner quantitative data on the fails and success of the food for the soul program from the programs administrators. This mode of data collection will be used to ascertain whether the program had an impact on Food seekers Inc. organization, the quality of the program and whether the existing system is helpful.
The next data collection method that would be used would be the use of questionnaires. The questionnaires will be done by 15 randomly selected beneficiary households. The participants should be participants in the food for the soul program from different low-income neighbourhoods. The questionnaires would show the effectiveness of the program currently at hand and will be administered.
In addition to the aforementioned data collection methods, food for the soul program will call other beneficiary households that are involved in the program. This will be to collect data that would not be available through the methods discussed. This data will illustrate the feelings of the majority of the program. It will also tell the reach and efficiency of the program from their responses. The entire program relies on a variety of data that range from different sources. All forms of data discussed are necessary for accurate evaluation.
Community assessment strategy
The primary goal for this activity will be to listen to the representatives of the communities at different levels concerning the program. We will then carry out the survey of the various communities electronically to ascertain the failures and the success of the program. The process evaluation tools and methods that will be used in this case are Initial discussions and the use of focus groups. The initial discussions for the participation of the community especially the non-participants of the program will be welcomed through analysis of their call responses. Community partners will be given open opportunities to share and discuss their concerns about the program through focus groups that will review the program’s adherence to community policies. The organization will organize a meeting with the same community representatives to review feedbacks from them and the community through initial discussions and working groups. Other than that, we will develop a feedback platform on our current website for the participants in the program to share their feedback as well.
We will also use questionnaires to identify the needs and views of the community. The questionnaire will target 20 non-participant households on a piloting survey scheme concerning the program. The questionnaire will be tailored to contain both close-ended and open-ended questions. The close-ended questions will help in quantifying data on the impact of the program whereas the open-ended questions will allow the participants to offer their views on the program. Surveys will be used as modes of getting the feedback from the community.
Data management and Analysis
The evaluation team will use forms to maintain the entire evaluation data. Analysis of data collected will be done by comparing the respective target and completion of project goals. The strategic plan update will then be done compared to the information from the analysis. The analysis of data collected under the scope of work will be examined to ascertain whether the evaluation objectives were met on time. The analysis will involve calculation of fidelity scores to test compliance and confidentiality credentials of the entire evaluation. The program analyst will be given the outcomes data to analyze.
Interpretation and reporting
The stakeholder and the administrators of the program will be scheduled for a meeting on 31st October 2020 for interpretation of the findings in the meeting. The data will be compared to the previous standard set by the program. The participants in the meeting will have a chance to give their explanations and verdicts on the findings and recommendations thereafter.
The final report of the entire evaluation process will be shared through numerous channels and the program staff briefed of the same. The major stakeholder will offer the way forward if the need arises. There will be periodic briefs to stakeholders and the organization through meetings. An article will also be published periodically to give the community an insight into what is going on. Presentations will be made to the stakeholder and an article published for community newsletter as well as community groups.
|Food for the soul Evaluation timeline||Nov 1st 2018-Feb 1st 2019||March 1st 2019-June1st 2019||July 1st 2019-Nov 1st 2019||Jan 1st 2020-May 1st 2020||July 1st 2020-OCT 31st 2020|
|Conduct focus group||ü|
|Develop youth and household beneficiary survey||ü|
|Validate and finalize the survey||ü|
|Develop an electronic survey for the youth population||ü|
|Develop an electronic survey for beneficiary households||ü|
|Conduct survey analysis||ü|
|Compile the results and formulate the report||ü|
|Present the final results||ü|
America, F. (2011). Map the meal gap. Feeding America.
Cook, J. T., Frank, D. A., Berkowitz, C., Black, M. M., Casey, P. H., Cutts, D. B., … & Heeren, T. (2004). Food insecurity is associated with adverse health outcomes among human infants and toddlers. The Journal of nutrition, 134(6), 1432-1438.
Kendall, A., Olson, C. M., & Frongillo Jr, E. A. (1995). Validation of the Radimer/Cornell measures of hunger and food insecurity. The Journal of nutrition, 125(11), 2793-2801.
Olson, C. M. (1999). Nutrition and health outcomes associated with food insecurity and hunger. The Journal of nutrition, 129(2), 521S-524S.
Seligman, H. K., Laraia, B. A., & Kushel, M. B. (2009). Food insecurity is associated with chronic disease among low-income NHANES participants. The Journal of nutrition, 140(2), 304-310.
- K. Kellogg Foundation (2001). Logic Model Development Guide. Retrieved from www.wkkf.org/~/media/36693510092544928C454B5778180D75/LogicModel.pdf