OrderAhead is a FREE platform developed by Feeding America for food pantries and food banks so that neighbors can order food in a private, fast, and easy manner. The process is like other online grocery ordering apps. After checking out, users get a confirmation email, and then can pick up their groceries (or have them delivered if your program offers that option) at the set time. For food pantries, adoption of OrderAhead can translate into less food waste, shorter wait times, the ability to offer their neighbors choice, and an opportunity to reach neighbors who may not be able to visit the pantry due to time constraints, lack of transportation, or physical ability.

Connecticut Foodshare has limited funding available to help you get started with OrderAhead! Write us at orderahead@ctfoodshare.org for information.

Learn more and get started!

Transforming Connecticut Food Pantries

The Connecticut Foodshare Institute for Hunger Research and Solutions provided grants to several partner agencies to help them reinvent and transform their services for neighbors. Read the report on the Transformation grants.

Supporting Wellness at Pantries (SWAP)

SWAP is a stoplight nutrition ranking system designed to help promote healthy food choices at food banks and food pantries. SWAP ranks foods based on levels of saturated fat, sodium and added sugars because these nutrients are linked with increased risk of chronic diseases. SWAP aligns with the Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System, and ranks food into three categories: Green (choose often), Yellow (choose sometimes), and Red (choose rarely).

Connecticut Foodshare ranks food in its inventory using SWAP, and dozens of food pantries across Connecticut are doing the same. We also have resources that help our partner programs to engage in conversations with donors about nutrition and the link between hunger and health to encourage more donations of healthy food choices.

Learn more about implementing SWAP:

Creating a Welcoming Culture at Your Program

Looking for inspiration and guidance on ways you can creating a welcoming setting for your neighbors? Join us each month on the fourth Thursday at 1PM for a live on-line session to learn from success stories in other programs. Register for these and other online presentations at our webinars page.

Social Media Strategies for Partners

Social Media is a powerful tool to help you build support, raise more food, raise funds, engage the community, and reach your neighbors with important information. It can help support your welcoming culture goals and showcase the powerful work you do. Our October 2023 Wednesday Webinar featured Connecticut Foodshare Marketing and Communication Director Merry Renduchintala and network partners from Enfield Loaves and Fishes and Norwalk Open Doors. Watch the recording to hear about getting started or upping your game in social media. View the slides from the presentation.

Want to know more? See these helpful resources to get you started on tips mentioned in the presentation.

How to Set up a Facebook Page

This video brings you through how to create a Facebook Page for your organization step-by-step. Please note, the host is creating a business page while you will be creating a nonprofit page. All the steps are the same, except you will enter “Nonprofit organization” under Category rather than “Restaurant” as the host does at time stamp 2:53. 

Sign-up for Canva Pro for free as a Nonprofit

Canva is a powerful design tool you can use to make logos, graphics, flyers, and more. There is a free version and a premium version. The premium version has more templates, images, graphic elements, fonts, and can save a brand kit for convenient use. Nonprofits can apply to receive Canva premium features for free. Eligible Nonprofits are: Registered with (i) IRS as exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code. Currently not eligible organizations: (i) Fiscally sponsored organizations that do not have their own 501(c)(3) status. (ii) Subordinate organizations under group exemption must still obtain own recognition of 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS to be eligible.

Watch this video to learn more. 

Welcome to Canva Instructional Videos

Canva’s YouTube Channel has a playlist of 11 short videos (approx. 3 minutes each) on how to use different aspects of Canva including navigating the home screen, using templates, using search, using graphics, uploading and editing pictures, and more. 

Strategies to Raise Food and Funds

Connecticut Foodshare staff have gathered a list of strategies used by network partners to help raise food, funds, and awareness for their programs. Download the list here.

Cultural Food Guide

The UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health has released the “Meeting Neighbor Needs with Culturally Connected Foods” guide to help food pantries meet the cultural needs of the neighbors they serve. Additionally, an editable survey for neighbors and an editable survey for pantry volunteers and staff can be found in English and Spanish. The Rudd Center also provides a Canva template to share survey results. View the resource here.