First BBP Survey Results Yield Interesting Results
Late last fall, for the very first time in its brief existence, BBP was able to survey participating students and parents as well as its primary staff contacts at Head Start and in the Public Schools. Administered by Angie Ficek, BBP's Program Evaluator, the surveys provided the first formal feedback on BBP's performance.
Staff contacts at Head Start and the Public Schools were generally quite pleased with how the program is operating. Among some of the general comments they volunteered were these:
- "This is such a wonderful program! Thank you so much for involving our families!" (Head Start)
- "I love it.... I'm finding the need is so great for those who are signing up." (Medary)
- "We want to thank all the many people who are involved in making this project a reality. It seems to be a very well-organized and well-communicated effort." (Camelot)
- "We are glad to have this program because there are more needs than people realize in our community." (Middle School)
The responders to the Student Survey were of course older students (from Camelot Intermediate School, Mickelson Middle School and Brookings High School). The students reported being mostly satisfied with the way they receive their food, its quantity, and how easy it is to prepare. All of them generally like the food, but a couple of students would like greater variety in the menus (BBP currently rotates five), and even more students would like to eliminate the canned food (usually a source of protein). Nearly all the students said that they're sharing their food with other family members.
Only 19% of Parent Surveys were returned, but Ficek wasn't surprised at the low response rate, observing that the average return for surveys generally is around 20%. As a group, those parents who did complete surveys had childen enrolled at all the school sites, so their feedback was very helpful.
Parents reported learning about BBP primarily, though not exclusively, from school sources--another indicator of the huge role that teachers, counselors, principals and other school staff are playing in BBP's success. Parents consider BBP registration easy. They reported that most or all of the food sent home is being eaten. The food is easy to prepare, being enjoyed by their children, and is offered in sufficient quantity.
A couple of parents, echoing some of the Student Surveys, urged BBP to forgo the canned goods and to offer more nutritious foods. One parent remarked, "Exchange canned food for more fruits and cereals. I think that canned food isn't good for children."
These parents will be happy to know that BBP Team members share their concern about the nutritional value of the foods being provided. We have already started to explore how we might increase that value while also (1) holding down costs and (2) making sure that the food still appeals to most or all of the children being served, many of whom aren't accustomed to eating wholesome foods. This is a challenge that may take some time to meet.
Among the general comments offered on the Parent Surveys were these:
- "[The food] helps out a lot considering I work every other weekend and it's easy for my daughter to heat up for her and her brother. Thank you."
- "[The food] really helps us survive the tough times!! My 4 year old loves it!! He thinks he is getting a bag of snacks for being good at school."
- "My son loves having the juice boxes in the fridge where he can get them."
- "The kids eat more fruits than they did before we began."
- "[My daughter] thinks of [the foodbag] as a present she will get every Friday."
BBP wishes to thank all the students, parents and school staff who took the time to complete a survey. A special thanks as well to Angie Ficek, whose tremendous skills in program evaluation and great love of numbers are a real gift to this organization.