Lutheran Social Services of Nevada is making it easier for families to access nutritious food with the launch of DigiMart, an online food pantry system that is a first in Las Vegas.
DigiMart is a logical next step for LSSN’s client-choice, supermarket-style food pantry. Clients are assigned user names and passwords to log into the food database on desktop kiosks at LSSN or from any computer with Internet access. The monitor displays pictures of food items available, and a click of the mouse puts a client’s item – say a can of reduced-sodium chicken noodle soup – into his or her digital cart. Once the order is complete, a receipt is sent to a computer in the pantry, staff and volunteers bag or box the food and have it ready for the client to pick up.
“It’s that easy, and it will save our clients the time they now spend waiting for their turn to shop in the pantry,” LSSN Executive Director Armena Mnatsakanyan said. “This is especially important for our clients who are seniors, who work or have child-care responsibilities.”
Clients of the DigiMart system are assigned points that are used like money to “purchase” food. A key component of DigiMart is that LSSN “prices” food that has higher nutritional value for fewer points than items that are less nutritious. For example, that can of reduced-sodium chicken noodle soup might be just 2 points, but a can of regular chicken noodle soup with a much higher salt content might be 5 points. DigiMart also provides fresh produce in bulk to promote healthy food choices. Clients are not charged to use the DigiMart program, and points are replenished every 30 days.
DigiMart is based on software developed and licensed by Nexus Financial Services in New York City for St. John’s Bread & Life, a social services agency in Brooklyn.
LSSN received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, USAA Savings Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco to begin DigiMart. Funding allowed LSSN to purchase the software from Nexus, which continues to provide technical assistance.
Hours: Mondays: 8-11 a.m. (first 40 people in line)
Tuesdays: 8-11 a.m. (Seniors 60+ only by appointment)
Wednesdays: 8-11 a.m. (Seniors 60+ only by appointment)
Thursdays: ONLINE 8-9 a.m. (pick up Friday 8-11 a.m.)
Fridays: 8-11 a.m. (first 40 people in line)