In March of 2020, VEAP made some significant changes to our services, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, leading to our current “drive-through” food distribution model. We prioritized the safety and well-being of our participants, staff and volunteers as we worked hard to continue to provide food and social service programs to the people who look to us for support.
Today, VEAP is again making plans to revamp our programs, to offer services that are safe, sustainable, and focused on the needs of our participants. We will leverage our years of experience distributing healthy food and the lessons from 2020 to create a new vision at VEAP.
The most important step in this process was to hear what our participants have to say. We conducted a survey by email, over the phone, in person, and through our key partners in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield. We also hosted on-site and virtual focus groups, with both English and Spanish speakers, to dig even more deeply into their feedback.
We were thrilled that more than 600 people responded to our survey. Many spoke of their overwhelming gratitude for the impact VEAP makes in their lives. More importantly, we heard about their preferences, their ideas for improvements, and their honest feedback that will help us understand what works for our participants – and what does not.
The survey and focus group feedback told us what participants value most:
- To choose from a variety of foods they need most
- To feel welcomed, comfortable and safe at VEAP
- To access food in a range of ways that are convenient and easy
- To reduce waste by getting the right amount of food
- To address their individual dietary needs
In the coming months, we anticipate re-opening our facility in the fall of 2021 to offer access to our expansive indoor pantry, while offering the alternatives, convenience, flexibility, and the dignity of choice that our participants value. Our team is excited to use all the feedback we received to make the improvements to our programs that our participants want to see and reflect the mission and values that are the foundation of VEAP programs. Please stay tuned!