S.T.R.E.T.C.H. Instructions

Introduction:

Emergency feeding programs come in a variety of sizes and operational syles. Some are large with full-time, trained staff members. Many are small and operate mainly with volunteer help. Regardless of the size or staffing, all emergency feeding programs share a common goal of providing safe, nutritious food to people who might otherwise go without. The STRETCH card and information system is a self-assessment tool to:
  1. Help emergency food providers examine the strengths and weaknesses of their individual programs.
  2. Encourage programs to set goals and priorities.
  3. Provide information and education.
Objectives:
  1. Using a set of STRETCH cards, the learner will assess the way his/her organization handles nutrition, food safety, and volunteer management issues and determine areas of strength and weakness within their program.
  2. Based on their own assessment, the learner will select areas for improvement, set goals, and prioritize those goals.
Materials:
  1. STRETCH Card Set
  2. STRETCH Information Sheets
  3. STRETCH Worksheet
Facilitating the Activity:
  1. Explain to the learners that the goal of the STRETCH activity is to help them examine their own organization and determine areas of strength and weakness in regard to the way they handle nutrition, food safety, and volunteer management issues.
  2. Ask the learners to remove their STRETCH cards from the package. Explain that there are 18 cards. Each card is labeled with a category and a number in the upper right hand corner. Cards 1-11 deal with food safety, 12-15 with nutrition, and 16-18 with volunteer management. Each card consists of a heading, which indicates the general category covered by the card, an opening statement, and a series of questions.
  3. Explain to the learner that they will sort through the card set 3 times. The first time through, the learner should read the heading on each card. Instruct the learner to set aside cards with a headline that does not pertain to their operation. For example, a program that distributes bags of canned or shelf-stable foods would set aside cards that deal with meal preparation and refrigerated or frozen foods.

    Once the learner has elimated all cards that do not apply to his/her operation, encourage them to look at each remaining card again. Encourage learners to read each of the questions on the cards and think about them. Instruct learners to keep those cards containing questions that they feel their organization handles inadequately. Discard cards containing questions the learner feels are adequately addressed by his/her organization.

    After completing the second step, the learner should be left with a series of cards that contain areas that may need more thought or improvement. Encourage the learner to read each remaining card again and think about how each issue/problem area might be addressed.
  4. Encourage learners to use the worksheet that follows to record the cards they have selected for improvement and to list goals and set priorities. Remind learners that some problems are more difficult/costly/time consuming to correct than others. Ask learners to divide goals into short and long term.
  5. Direct learners to the STRETCH Information Sheets that correspond to the numbered cards they have selected for further work.

Attention Emergency Food Organizations

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Indiana’s Emergency Food Resource Network has added a new feature to the food assistance directory! You can now view emergency food provider locations on a map by clicking "View with Google Maps". More information about each location can be found by searching by county, city, or zip code.

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