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Community-based Meal Kit Program

Community-based Meal Kit Program



Approximately one year before the intervention, 8 to 10 local stakeholders (school-based personnel and community members) were recruited to contribute feedback through quarterly Zoom meetings. These meetings were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed. Immediate actionable items were documented during the meetings for prompt follow-up. The first meeting used semi-structured prompts and questions to initiate conversations, describe the intervention, and understand the community’s nuances and needs. Subsequent meetings facilitated troubleshooting and decision-making for program components. Stakeholders actively aided in recruiting the target audience for focus groups and the intervention and led the meal kit production process. Stakeholders were compensated for their time.

Meal Kit Production Models

Both the high school culinary program and the nonprofit adopted similar models to produce the meal kits efficiently and effectively.

  • High School Culinary Program
  • Nonprofit Community Organization


Target Audience

During the COVID-19 pandemic, focus group scripts were adapted into surveys due to recruitment challenges. Each community provided approximately 15 one-time responses, sharing their perspectives on various factors influencing meal decisions and preparation, cooking habits, mealtime routines, barriers to preparing meals at home, and their willingness to try the Slice and Spice meal kit service, including the 18 recipes offered. The collected survey responses were carefully analyzed and integrated into the program implementation process. Participants were compensated for their time, and those who expressed interest were invited to participate in the meal kit program.  

Eligible participants from all recruitment avenues were invited to an enrollment dinner hosted at a local community partner site, which also served as the pick-up location for future meal kits. Appointments were staggered by 30 minutes to ensure a smooth process. Upon arrival, participants checked in and went through the consent process. Depending on traffic, they were paired with a research assistant to begin surveys or health screenings. Participants could choose between paper surveys or digital surveys via mobile tablet for convenience. Health screenings were conducted in a private room to ensure confidentiality. All participant data, except for the informed consent, registration, and compensation forms, used a unique participant ID assigned after completing the consent process. After data collection, participants received a to-go meal for themselves and their RSVP'd guest(s), along with a welcome kit containing cooking tools, pots and pans, and a recipe binder to store recipes cards and nutrition handouts. They also received their first meal kit, compensation, and indicated their preferred pick-up window and contact method. Participants were allowed to withdraw from the program at any point and those who missed than two meal kits were automatically withdrawn.


Families received meal kits weekly for six weeks. Each meal kit contained all ingredients to prepare three nutritious recipes (meat, seafood, or vegetarian) that served four people, recipe cards, a nutrition handout. The week prior to pickup, participants were texted their weekly story submission prompts. While on site, the meal kits were rechecked for accuracy against the weekly recipe cards before distribution. If there were discrepancies, they were immediately fixed on site. Meals were delivered to a central location by program staff and kept in cold storage. Each site utilized that location for weekly meal kit pickups by the participants. There were, at a minimum, two days each week, for a 4-hour period each day, in which participants were able to pick up their meals. In addition, weekly consumer choice surveys and verbal story submissions recorded via a mobile tablet were collected by program staff during meal pickup appointments.  

  • Weekly Meal Kit Pickup Conflict
  • Communication

The same process was repeated for the 6-month follow-up. Communication started 1-month prior to intervention with program staff sending story submission prompts and scheduling appointment times. Program staff kept in contact with participants until the actual intervention.


  • Student Participation
  • Curriculum Development
  • Intervention