Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry adopts healthy practices and policies to ensure its guests have access to nutritious foods.

(GENESEO, Ill.) Many households served by food pantries include people having to cope with diet-related chronic diseases. To improve overall health, doctors recommend people eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as whole wheat bread and pasta, low sodium foods, lean protein, and dairy products including low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. To provide as many of these options as possible, staff at the Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry have implemented a new nutrition policy, outlining pantry’s increased emphasis on acquiring nutritious foods, while also encouraging an increase in donations of healthier foods. 

“Implementing a nutrition policy is important because it stands to improve the overall health offerings of the pantry.  Geneseo-Atkinson Food Pantry staff becomes more conscientious about food purchases.  Donors to the pantry begin to think about the foods they are donating.  And pantry guests have a greater variety of healthy food options to choose from,” says pantry director, Michael Sigwalt.

To help them achieve their goal, the Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry has also implemented Supplementing Wellness at Pantries (SWAP); a “stoplight” nutrition ranking system, using green, yellow, and red as nutrition indicators.  Green-coded foods should be chosen often; yellow-coded foods chosen sometimes, and red-coded foods should be only occasionally chosen.  With this system, food pantry guests will be able to identify more nutritious offerings at a glance, without having to review the nutrition labels. The SWAP system ranks the foods based on the amount of saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.

University of Illinois Extension’s SNAP-Ed Educator, Tayler Louscher assisted the food pantry in developing these changes.  “I commend the staff and volunteers on their pro-active approach to implement these innovative strategies that will help nudge guests to choose more nutritious options.” Said Tayler, “Their commitment to enhancing community health and well-being is truly inspiring.”

To view the nutrition policy and learn more about donating, visit

Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry is open Mondays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. to noon. The pantry is located at 620 W. Main Street, Geneseo, IL. For questions regarding the pantry, contact Michael Sigwalt or Nicole Freadhoff by calling (309) 944-3165 or by visiting

Source: Mike Sigwalt, Director, Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry | Nicole Freadhoff, Assistant Director, Geneseo/Atkinson Food Pantry