WinnerStockMyPantry: Renal-friendly Grocery Delivery for Kidney Patients

Winning Submission

The ability to stay at home and still have access to kidney-friendly food is critical for kidney patients to avoid contracting COVID-19. Patients on dialysis need a very specific diet and transplant patients are immunocompromised. StockMyPantry's mission is to donate and deliver dietitian-recommended groceries to dialysis and transplant patients in need.

Description

StockMyPantry is a program started by a kidney patient for kidney patients. As a dialysis patient, I saw concerns pouring into online communities from fellow patients during the COVID-19 pandemic on ways to reduce potential exposure to the virus. At the start of the pandemic in April 2020, StockMyPantry rolled out a survey to better understand the struggles of kidney patients. The survey showed that food insecurity and adherence to a renal-friendly diet were among the top concerns as patients reduced their exposure by staying at home and limiting non-essential travel.

With these findings in mind, StockMyPantry partnered with renal dietitians to come up with a list of non-perishable food pantry items and utilized the no-contact delivery service Instacart to deliver these items to kidney patients' homes so that they could stay home and stay safe. The program raised funding through GoFundMe starting in May and has delivered renal-friendly groceries to patients in 38 U.S. states. Kidney patients interested in receiving assistance from StockMyPantry were asked to submit an online application form. Acceptance to the program was based on demonstrating food insecurity via the Hunger Vital Sign developed by Dr. Erin Hager and Dr. Anna Quiggand. Once accepted into the program, the kidney patient was asked to provide preferred delivery times and select food items from our renal-dietitian-curated grocery list. Volunteers helped place orders with Instacart based on these preferences, typically with deliveries reaching the kidney patient's doorstep within seven days.

During the application process, StockMyPantry also collects both quantitative and qualitative information about demographics, kidney disease type and stage, and the impact kidney disease has had on the person's life. This information can help policymakers understand broader systemic issues within the kidney patient community and guide future care programs.

Implementation and adaptability

StockMyPantry has demonstrated feasibility from the success of its initial rollout in May 2020 that delivered one-time free groceries to the doorsteps of kidney patients in 38 states. The process was simple — for kidney patients, as well as for those arranging grocery deliveries to these patients. Kidney patients complete two short forms: an application form and a delivery preference form. Our forms are created using Google forms that allow for automation of mass distribution and collection of responses. Submitted applications are sent to our custom software that automatically screens applicants on the Hunger VitalSign and prioritizes based on financial need. To schedule delivery, volunteers simply follow a predefined grocery list and have all the necessary information from the delivery preference form to place Instacart delivery orders. We have a highly streamlined process, from application to delivery, requiring limited staff and volunteers. Also, kidney patients impacted by StockMyPantry's generosity often want to volunteer, so we do not foresee issues in finding sufficient volunteers.

StockMyPantry has no geographical boundary. It is all done online, and as long as the country has an online grocery delivery provider, we will be able to provide the service. We expect that we can provide renal-friendly grocery delivery on most continents (North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and portions of Africa).

StockMyPantry has reached out to kidney patients in a variety of care settings. For example, they might be in-center dialysis patients, home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, patients, post-transplant patients, or chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 1-4 patients. As we expand our program, we intend to reach out to more kidney patients across care settings.

Contact info

Winnie Cheng - wwcheng@alum.mit.edu