Research

Collecting and analyzing client data is part of what we do
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At Crossroads, we believe in continually improving our programs and services to better serve our clients. Our research initiatives drive these program improvements and give us a better understanding of the broader picture of food insecurity.

Crossroads’ research initiatives have enabled us to be a pioneer organization in the fight against food insecurity and have garnered interest from organizations across the country. 

Crossroads strives to evaluate and measure its effectiveness by collecting data from our clients. 

Crossroads collects information from our clients when they visit our food pantry. Clients answer questions about demographic, economic, health, mental and emotional well-being, and program participation. We collect these data longitudinally, that is, we ask clients the same questions at multiple visits.

Why do we ask for information from our clients?

Collecting information from our clients allows us to understand their circumstances and unmet needs. Collecting the same information over time from our clients allows us to understand the changing needs of our community. Clients are not required to answer all questions, but we encourage them to do so.

How are the data collected?

The data are collected using Salesforce software (Salesforce.com, Inc.). Our partnership with Salesforce and the technology sector has increased our capacity for innovation and efficiency. For example, Salesforce allows our staff to created dashboards to track our efficiency and effectiveness. For example, these dashboards allow us to know, in real time, how quickly clients progress through intake, recertification, food selection, and food shopping. As another example, the Salesforce software allows us to alter the choice architecture surrounding food selections. This allows us to sort foods so that clients see the most nutritious foods first. Salesforce.com Inc. generously supports our ongoing technological and program innovations.

What do we do with all this information?

Crossroads staff use the data to advocate for additional resources. For example, we use data in our funding applications when we apply for grants from philanthropic organizations. By demonstrating how many of our clients face very low food security, we are poised to advocate for additional food or financial assistance programs. As another example, by demonstrating the large number of our clients diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension, we can make a stronger case to bring new health promotion and culinary medicine programs to our food pantry.

Crossroads staff also use the data to evaluate the effectiveness of our services and to inform future program improvements. For example, using our data we demonstrated that clients who visit Crossroads more regularly report better food security and improved social support. These data demonstrate our effectiveness, setting us apart from many food pantries that cannot determine whether food assistance improves the lives of individual clients. The data provide the foundation for future program improvements. In the future, as we work to improve our services, we will be able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t work, and we will continue to innovate and adapt our services accordingly to ensure the greatest positive impact for our community.

Crossroads also partners with academic institutions to better understand the broader impact of food insecurity and food assistance on the well-being of low-income populations. Our unique data has even garnered interest from researchers in China and the United Kingdom. By collaborating with faculty and students to conduct research projects, we hope to find innovative solutions to systemic problems facing our community.

Would your organization like to learn how to collect and use data from your clients? Are you a researcher who is interested in using our data to answer important questions?

Please contact Jesse Kramer, Food Programs Manager at jkramer@ccsdallas.org or 214.560.2511, ext. 103

Research Partnerships

The research conducted by our partners not only aims to improve the lives of those we serve, but offers them a voice in matters which directly affect their lives and the well-being of their families.

Dr. Tammy Leonard

University of Dallas

Co-Director, Community Assistance Research Initiative

Behavioral Economics

Dr. Sandi Pruitt

UTSouthwestern Medical School

Co-Director, Community Assistance Research Initiative

Social epidemiology and the health of vulnerable populations

Antonio Lopez

UTSouthwestern Medical School

Nutritional knowledge of SNAP recipients

Robert Drake

UTSouthwestern Medical School

Emotion management

Behavioral Economics

Marc Jacobson

Baylor University

Texas Hunger Initiative

Dr. Michael Bowen

UTSouthwestern Medical School

Diabetes and Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

Dr. Carla Pezzia

University of Dallas

Medical Anthropology

Research Projects and Findings

By working with other organizations to conduct research projects, we hope to find innovative solutions to systemic problems in our community.

SNAP-AC

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The SNAP-AC Project seeks to help hungry North Texans eat healthier and more consistently by coordinating pantry visits with SNAP benefit distributions. We intend to change the context in which food budgeting decisions are made, in order to decrease diet and economic uncertainty among vulnerable food pantry clients.

Recent Research Publications

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Crossroads Community Services, in partnership with the Community Assistance Research (CARE) Team, presents a mode for Initiative Improving Access to Food for Food Bank Clients.

ClientCare Longitudinal Database

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Crossroads maintains a robust longitudinal database to support productive research collaborations aimed at improving our understanding of issues that affect Crossroads clients. Interested researchers should contact Jesse Kramer to learn how to gain access to this data resource.