Inside Barb Food Mart, four long, tall, and sturdy shelves line a portion of the pantry walls. On a Monday morning these shelves are virtually empty. By Wednesday afternoon a team of 20 volunteers have packed these shelves with over 200 boxes. Each box, filled with a custom mix of shelf-stable food and personal care items, boasts a large number. This number is the key to family privacy at Barb Food Mart.
"In March 2020 we moved our operation to a drive-thru pantry in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic," explains Joey Moore, Barb Food Mart Director. "A few months in to the pandemic we implemented online ordering so families had the opportunity to chose the items they need. One question we had to answer was how to match each order to its corresponding family while maintaing family privacy." This is where the numbers come in to play.
When families register to receive food from Barb Food we collect identifying information such as: name, address, phone number, and school. This information is never sold or shared with any other party. This information is never printed on pre-packed orders,
or posted online or on social media. After registration, each family is assigned a number they can use for online ordering each week. They will receive a car tag to display when picking up their order.
"Using a number system allows us to identify custom orders without using the families' names," said Moore.
At Barb Food Mart, family privacy goes beyond names. "To share our mission with the community, we often take pictures of the food we distribute and our volunteers. Barb Food Mart will never take your picture without your permission," Moore ensures. "Vehicle license plates and identifying information will never appear in any pictures posted to social media, posted to our website, or printed on mailings."