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Community-based Meal Kit Program

Community-based Meal Kit Program


Personnel roles varied and were aligned with the two implementation models (CA-CTE and nonprofit) mentioned above. Additional positions supplemented changes in the non-profit implementation model.

Community Stakeholders

Steering committees were comprised of 5-7 community and/or school stakeholders. School stakeholders were made up of school staff (principal, chef and agriscience teacher). One way to choose community stakeholders was by identifying individuals who were already active and influential within the community, typically referred to by school staff. These may be recognized leaders or representatives of local organizations. Community stakeholders should represent the diversity of the community. It should aim to include a diverse range of perspectives and ensure that individuals are representative of the community’s interests and needs. Transparent and inclusive processes are essential to building trust and fostering meaningful community engagement. 

  • Community Stakeholder Responsibilities
    • Connecting the research team to the community to recruit a diverse group of participants for the focus groups and intervention
    • Planning and reviewing components of the intervention
    • Helping the research team overcome barriers to implementation
    • Receiving reports tailored to their counties on the effectiveness of the intervention and future plans
    • Producing, gathering, portioning and packaging weekly meal kit ingredients, recipe and nutrition cards

For the non-profit implementation model, as a stand-in for the school stakeholders, 4Roots stakeholders were comprised the Director of Program Partnership, Director, 4Roots Farm Campus and the Community Engagement Manager. They had the same responsibilities as the community stakeholders in the traditional implementation model. 

Program Staff

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Program staff roles were primarily filled by the University of Florida research staff members attached to the Shelnutt Lab. Staff members were paid UF staff employees. Each program site had a primary staff member who coordinated intervention dinners and weekly meal kit pickups. This primary staff member was actively engaged with community stakeholders ensuring that data collection dinners were successfully implemented, kit supplies were purchased, and participants received their weekly meal kits.

  • Program Staff Responsibilities
    • Marketing
    • Community outreach and recruitment
    • Data entry
    • Administrative Work
    • Event planning (logistics, setup, and coordination)
    • Story Submission reminders
    • Weekly communication with participants
    • Administration of evaluation tools and story submissions


The volunteer staff was comprised of education (high school culinary and UF research students) and non-profit (4Roots) personnel. They were identified by their specific skills, interests and motivations surrounding nutrition and dietetics. UF students were assigned to the Nutrition In a Box research project by joining the Shelnutt Lab and then were assigned to the project via Institutional Review Board acceptance. High school culinary students were identified by the presiding chef and 4Roots volunteers were supplied by their organization internally. Volunteers were provided detailed information about the project, trained on evaluation tools, and assembled meal kits. 

  • Volunteer Staff Responsibilities
    • Gathering, portioning, and packaging weekly meal kit ingredients, recipe and nutrition cards
    • Labeling Meal Kit packages
    • Ensuring proper food storage
    • Performing quality control of meal kits

    In addition to the responsibilities listed above, UF research students were also responsible for:

    • Participant registration
    • Administration of evaluation tools
    • Performing quality assurance and control on meal kits
    • Data entry and analysis of evaluation tool results

Volunteers typically have limited ability due to other commitments. UF students were not able to dedicate as much time as needed for project implementation. To account for this, flexible long-term and short-term opportunities were used to accommodate individual schedules. This allowed for an increase in the number of volunteers available to support. Volunteers’ level of engagement and commitment varied. Managing expectations and having open communication addressed gaps in availability and project needs. There was constant contact between education and non-profit volunteers.