Safe Food For the Hungry II

General Introduction and Technical Information

What is Safe Food for the Hungry?

Safe Food for the Hungry - II is a videoconference workshop. Its goal is to provide staff and volunteers in not-for-profit food assistance programs with general background information about food safety, nutrition, and volunteer management. Further, through the workshop component and take-home materials, Safe Food for the Hungry - II provides a framework that individual organizations can use in evaluating their programs and in solving their specific problems.

According to a recent study, 1 in 10 Americans will require food assistance at some time in their lives. An estimated 42% of children under 17 obtain a portion of their nutritional needs from a food relief program. Not-for-profit food distribution organizations play a critical role in providing much needed food to the hungry.

Food distribution organizations vary greatly in their size, organization, management, and clientele. Some programs are tiny operations run by a handful of dedicated volunteers. Others are larger organizations with well trained staff members. All share a common goal - to provide safe, nutritious food to those who might otherwise go without.

Safe Food for the Hungry - II addresses three critical issues facing not-for-profit food distribution organizations, regardless of the size or style of operation: 1) food safety - how to obtain safe, nutritious food and keep it safe until it is used; 2) nutrition - how to integrate donated and commodity foods into a healthful diet; and 3) volunteer management - how to recruit, train, utilize, and keep volunteers.

What is a videoconference workshop?

A videoconference is a live, interactive video program transmitted via satellite. The program usually originates from one location, is beamed to a satellite in space, and then is broadcast back to earth as a television program. The program is interactive because viewers can contact the presenters by way of telephone, fax, or e-mail.

To receive or tune in the program, viewers must have a steerable satellite antenna or downlink. We will transmit Safe Food for the Hungry -II via satellite and on IHETS (Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System).

Safe Food for the Hungry - II will originate from the Center for Instructional Services (CIS) studio at Purdue University on October 12, 1995. Because we are broadcasting on C-band and Ku-band satellites, any steerable satellite downlink in the lower 48 states of North America plus portions of southern Canada should be able to receive the broadcast portion of the program. Sites in Indiana with an IHETS receiver can also access the program.

What is the format for the videoconference?

The Safe Food for the Hungry - II program comprises two components, (1) the satellite videoconference and (2) the workshop. The satellite videoconference portion, which is available at no cost to anyone with the technical ability to downlink it, will be divided into a 2-hour session and a 1-hour session. Each session will consist of a combination of discussions, demonstrations, and pre-recorded videos. In this portion of the program we will discuss basic food safety issues, introduce the concept of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and show how a HACCP system can help food distribution organizations minimize food safety risks. We'll learn about the food guide pyramid, serving sizes, and discover some creative recipes to help integrate commodity and food bank foods into a healthful diet. Then, we'll find out who today's volunteers are and learn how to develop a volunteer management system. Finally, we'll discuss some liability issues relating to volunteers.

We've incorporated a two hour break into the program. This break, which separates the two satellite videoconference sessions, constitutes the workshop portion of the program. During the workshop, participants can take part in a variety of hands-on activities and discussions. Lesson plans for suggested site activities are included in this Site Educator's Handbook. You may wish to modify these based on the particular needs of your audience.

The workshop component of the videoconference is very important. Participants who have the opportunity to take part only in the satellite portion of the program will obtain a great deal of useful information. However, the hands-on activities and discussions planned for the workshop component will give participants an opportunity to use what they've learned. Each site activity is designed to reinforce the material presented in the satellite portion of the conference. Research shows that most people remember 20% of what they hear, 50% of what they see and hear, but 90% of what they learn by doing (Gravani and Scott 1990). For this reason, we believe that the activities planned for the workshop component of the videoconference are of paramount importance in helping our audience take in and remember the information presented.

What are the responsibilities of the Site Educator?

The site educator is the key to ensuring a successful videoconference workshop. As the site educator, you are the link between your local viewing audience and the program producer. In general, you are responsible for:
  • greeting participants,
  • registering participants,
  • distributing program materials,
  • arranging for refreshments,
  • tuning in the broadcast,
  • distributing and collecting evaluations,
  • facilitating workshop activities,
  • facilitating questions to studio panelists.
You have a big job and an extremely important job. This Site Educator's Handbook should make your job a little easier.

What are the conference goals and objectives?

Food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and other organizations that provide food to the hungry often rely on volunteers and staff with little or no training in safe food handling or nutrition. Improper food handling can result in foodborne illness which can be life-threatening for high risk members of the population. Poor nutrition can also have grave consequences in terms of health, development, and ability to concentrate and learn. Safe Food for the Hungry - II provides practical, application-based food safety and nutrition instruction to volunteers and staff who handle food in not-for-profit food assistance organizations.Additionally, since volunteers are the cornerstone of most food distribution organizations, Safe Food for the Hungry - II provides instruction on effective volunteer management strategies.

Who is our audience?

Safe Food for the Hungry - II targets workers in not-for-profit organizations that provide food for the hungry. This includes: directors, full and part-time workers, volunteers, and other interested individuals or groups. Health officials, Cooperative Extension Educators, and other individuals who work with food assistance organizations or limited resource audiences may also find the program useful. The members of this audience vary tremendously in age, education, background, and knowledge of the subject. Some members of our audience may have an extensive background in sanitation, food preparation, nutrition, or volunteer management. Others may have no prior experience with these subjects. The potential diversity of our audience makes your job as the site educator extremely challenging. You will want to provide challenging activities for those participants with some prior knowledge while focusing on the basics for the novices in the group. We have attempted to keep this diversity in mind while developing the suggested activities for the workshop. However, successful implementation rests in your hands. We have included in this handbook detailed lesson plans for the planned activities. You may wish to review background information on adult learning, such as Basics of Teaching Adult Learners, In Safety and Food Excellence: A Program for Food Safety Leaders, by Robert Gravani and Donna Scott of Cornell University, as part of your preparation for the workshop.

Taking Care of the Technical Aspects

Reserving a downlink site

As site educator, you must reserve a downlink site. (Indiana sites are already reserved). This could be any of the following:
  • County Extension offices,
  • Public Schools,Community colleges, vocational schools, or Universities,
  • Hospitals, - Corporations,
  • Large hotels or convention centers.
The facility should be comfortable and provide an atmosphere conducive to learning. Well-thought-out lighting, video, audio, and seating arrange-ments make the difference between a successful satellite videoconference and an uncomfortable and unproductive experience.

Some things to consider include:
  • Is there a satellite downlink feed into the room? If not, can the cables reach the room? Does audiovisual equipment come with the room?
  • Is technical support available or do you need to provide it?
  • Is a telephone (and fax machine) accessible for call-in questions?
  • Is the facility large enough for registration,viewing the videoconference, serving refreshments and a meal, handling small group discussions, and setting up displays?
  • What if 50 people show up for your videoconference and you were expecting only 25? Can the facility handle them?
  • Are there shades on the windows to eliminate glare on the TV screen? Is the lighting adjustable to allow for notetaking while viewing the videoconference?
  • Can people enter and leave the room without walking in front of the monitors or screen?
  • Can the participants find the room? Is there plenty of parking?

Making facilities arrangements

To have a successful satellite videoconference, all equipment, especially the satellite or IHETS reception equipment must work properly.

Satellite reception equipment

Don't wait until the last minute to test your satellite or IHETS downlink. Test your equipment at least 1 week before the videoconference. This will give you enough time to correct any problems with the equipment.

To test the reception equipment, tune in the satellite that will be broadcasting the videoconference. Indiana IHETS sites should make sure their IHETS receivers are functioning properly by tuning to channel 31 or 32 and verifying that there is a signal coming from IHETS. We will be broadcasting on:

KU-band
Satellite: G-Star 1
Transponder: 13
Downlink: 11988 MHz

C-band
Satellite: Telstar 401
Transponder: C16
Downlink: 4020 MHz

IHETS: Channel G

There may not be any programming on the satellite channel when you test, but you should be able to find programming on another channel. Consult a satellite television program guide such as Satellite TV Week or Orbit magazine to find out what channels may be in use. If you can tune in one channel on a satellite, then you most likely will be able to tune in other channels.

Retest the satellite equipment the day before the videoconference.

On the day of the videoconference, a test pattern will be broadcast for 30 minutes before the program begins so you can tune in the proper channel ahead of time. Be sure to fine-tune the satellite equipment as soon as the test pattern is available.

TV monitor setup

The rule-of-thumb for viewing television programs is to have 1 inch of diagonal TV screen size per audience member. For example, use a 25-inch screen for up to 25 viewers.

If you are expecting a large audience, you may want to use a video projection system and a large screen, or split the signal and send it to more than one monitor at the same time.

Set up the room so that each participant has an unobstructed view of the TV screen. The monitor should be on a riser or stand that raises it about 4 feet off the floor.

VCRs

You can hook up a video recorder (VCR) to the satellite receiver and record the videoconference while watching the program. If you plan to record the satellite videoconference, do a test recording ahead of time to make sure that you have hooked up your VCR properly. Copies of the Safe Food for the Hungry - II videotape will be available from Purdue University after the program. We will also be producing short training videos from certain preproduced portions of the program. To find out about the content of these videos and ordering information, contact the department of Foods and Nutrition at 765-494-8239 after October 20, 1995.

Telephone

The Safe Food for the Hungry - II videoconference includes an interactive component. Viewers at any site can actively participate in the conference by telephoning, faxing, or e-mailing their questions and/or comments into the CIS studio at Purdue University. Operators will be standing by to take your calls. You will need a telephone so that participants can call in and ask questions during the conference. Also, a telephone is important if you run into any technical difficulties with your satellite system.

Try to place the telephone in the back of the room away from the TV set. If the telephone is too close to the TV, it may cause feedback. You can eliminate feedback by turning down the TV volume while placing a call.

Fax machine

Some participants may be uncomfortable asking questions over the telephone during a live broadcast. Or, you may wish to collect questions from your group and submit them at one time. The fax machine is an excellent choice for submitting questions in either situation.

Other equipment

Depending on the size of your audience, you may need microphones so participants and speakers may hear one another's comments. If you are utilizing any or all of the suggested activities, you may need tables, flip charts, and other materials. Please refer to the activity lesson plans for a detailed list of materials.

Tables and Chairs

If possible, have tables and movable chairs. This allows for easier notetaking and for breaking into small groups for discussion.

Technical Information

Satellite Information:

Ku-band:

G-Star 1,
Transponder 13
Downlink: 11,988 MHz

C-Band:

Telstar 401,
Transponder C16
Downlink: 4,020 MHz

IHETS: Channel G


Troubleshooting

As the site educator, you may or may not be knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the videoconference. Arrange to have a technician or someone familiar with electronic equipment on hand to help during the videoconference. Know how to locate your technician at all times during the program.

Although we do not expect you to have problems during the videoconference, you should develop contingency plans in case something does happen. If you tested your satellite or IHETS system in advance, you should not experience any unexpected technical problems. Despite pretesting, problems may occur. What will you do if you lose the satellite or IHETS signal or if you get a poor quality (unviewable) signal?

The loss of the satellite or IHETS signal may be caused by:
  • Technical difficulties at the uplink site (this is not likely)
  • Technical problems with the satellite or IHETS transmitter (this is not likely)
  • Problems with the satellite or IHETS equipment at the local viewing site (this is more likely)
Explain the problem briefly to the participants. While waiting for the signal to return, you may wish to conduct one or more of the site activities.

Decide ahead of time what you will do if, after all attempts, you cannot get the satellite signal. For example, you could switch to local activities and offer to show a videotape of the program at some other time.

Making the Workshop a Success

As the site educator, you play a critical role in the success of the videoconference workshop. This portion of the Site Educator's Handbook supplies information to help make your job easier.

Welcoming the participants

As the site educator you set the mood for the day. Welcome participants and introduce yourself. If the group is not too large, have the participants introduce themselves as well.

Register participants as they enter and give each a participant's package. Explain the components of the package. Discuss those pieces that will be utilized during the workshop and point out the pieces that participants can utilize after the workshop.

Outline the plans for the day. Explain to participants that they will be able to interact with the panelists at the uplink site by asking questions via telephone, fax, or e-mail.

Briefly share other important information such as break times, telephone and restroom locations, and lunch arrangements.

Handling late registrants and walk-ins

Determine prior to the workshop how you will handle late registrants and walk-ins. You may wish to have a few extra copies of the participant materials on hand to accommodate unregistered participants. How will you handle additional registrants if you are providing lunch? Some thought to these issues before the workshop can greatly reduce stress on the day of the conference.

Facilitating questions during the workshop

There will be a question and answer period following each of the three subject matter discussions. During this time, panelists at the CIS studio will respond to questions from the viewing audience. Each site can telephone, fax, or e-mail questions to Purdue University.

To facilitate this portion of the program, ask participants to jot down their questions during the satellite transmission and the workshop break.

Operators will staff the call-in line during the satellite transmission and the break periods. You may place your call at any time, and the operators will transcribe your questions and pass them on to a program moderator who will read them on the air. We will try to cover as many questions as possible on the air.

Subject matter questionaire

To help us assess the impact of the videoconference workshop, we have developed a subject matter questionaire. This tool, which uses a cartoon format, should be administered immediately before and after the teleconference workshop. Some participants may feel intimidated by a "test." Be sure to stress that the information obtained with this tool will help us determine the effectiveness of the program in disseminating information. It is, in essence, a test of us, not them.

To insure that pre- and post-conference answer sheets for individual participants match, we have put both answer sheets on the same page. Ask participants to cover the preconference answers before marking their postconference choices.

To facilitate the questionaire completion, you may wish to have participants complete it as a group with you reading each question and each participant circling the appropriate answer on their forms. Making overheads of each cartoon may be helpful. Go over the correct answers once you've collected the answer sheets.

Evaluations and certificates

You will receive evaluations and certificates with your participant packages. Administer the evaluations at the end of the program. Collect the evaluations and the questionaire answer sheets before you distribute the Certificate of Participation and participant gifts.

So that we can judge the success of this videoconference, please encourage all participants to complete their evaluations before they leave at the end of the day. It is important for participants to assess their own learning and to take note of program highlights. Also, the feedback is useful for future program planning.

You may give the participants a blank Certificate of Participation, or, sometime after registration, fill in their names. Be sure to sign your name at the bottom of each certificate as the site educator.

A word about literacy

Because of the wide diversity of our intended audience, we may expect some participants who have difficulty reading. Some older participants may have trouble with text which is too small. Others in the audience may have low literacy skills. Be sensitive to the special needs of your audience.

The conference quesitionaire will be presented in a cartoon format. Some reading is required. The evaluation will also require reading. If you suspect that some members of your audience may have difficulty completing the questionaire and evaluation on their own, you may wish to have participants complete them as a group with you reading each question and the individual circling the appropriate answer on their forms.

Refreshment breaks and food

Because this is a 5 hour workshop, you will need to coordinate refreshments and food breaks.

For example, you may want to have coffee, juice, and muffins for the participants as they register. Brunch or lunch could range from a catered meal to a brown-bag lunch.

Keep in mind that the cost of providing basic refreshments such as coffee, tea, and muffins is small compared to the positive effect on the participants. To cut costs, ask a local service club, sorority, 4-H club, or Scout group to help with the refreshments or meal. Sometimes, a business or service club will be happy to furnish or assist with refreshments or supplies such as cups, plates, and napkins. It might be wise to ask someone to help you coordinate the refreshments and be in charge of the refreshment table during the videoconference.

If you plan to provide refreshments or a meal, keep the following questions in mind when planning for the videoconference:
  • Are there enough tables for refreshments?
  • Do you need an additional room for lunch?
  • Can you serve the number of participants in the time allowed?
  • Are there enough trash receptacles?
  • Will the beverage supply need to be refilled?
  • Are there electrical outlets and circuits available for coffee urns?
  • Is the amperage adequate?
  • Is refrigeration available and adequate to hold participants' lunch bags?
  • Are eating facilities available nearby if you don't provide food or if some participants prefer eating out? Did you order a few extra meals for possible on-site registrants?

Videoconference Checklist

Before October 12

  • Reserve a downlink site.
  • Make facilities arrangements, such as reserving equipment, fax machines, computers, tables and chairs.
  • Make plans for refreshments and lunch.
  • Publicize and promote the videoconference.
  • Duplicate the site materials for participants.
  • Test the satellite equipment.
  • Test the video equipment.
  • Test telephone and fax lines.
  • Prepare for workshop activities.

On October 12

  • Set up the room and refreshment area.
  • Set up the learning center activities and displays.
  • Test the satellite equipment.
  • Test the video equipment.
  • Test the telephone and fax machines.
  • Greet participants and hand out site materials.
  • Tune in the test signal one-half hour before broadcast time.
  • Check and adjust audio level on test signal.
  • Distribute, administer, and collect pretest.
  • Facilitate learning center and group activities.
  • Facilitate lunch.
  • Facilitate discussions and questions for the discussion periods.
  • Administer and collect posttests
  • Collect and mail back pre- and post-tests and evaluation forms.

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