PEPbase is free, in-house software developed by our own staff. Its purpose is to provide us with the ability to manage the complex product eligibility rules and product lifetimes for the products we stock that are required for personal and household hygiene. Unlike food products, these products vary quite a bit in terms of who is eligible to receive them (for example, a household without children 3 or younger probably – though not necessarily – does not need diapers or pull-ups; a household with no women 12 or older probably – though not necessarily – does not need sanitary napkins) and the expectable lifetime of the products (toothpaste tends to last longer than shampoo; a household of five will go through toilet paper more quickly than a household of two).
PEPbase is the result of that experience. PEPbase allows us to keep track of households: to know whether Bob Green was indeed new to our Pantry (when we asked him, he told us quite honestly, and quite correctly, when that he’d never been here before; he didn’t realize that what we were really asking was whether his household was new to the Pantry; his partner Mary had already registered with us, but he, Bob Green, had in fact not visited us before); to know how many are in the household, and how they are distributed across our age categories by gender; and to know whether anybody in the household have allergies or had other special conditions that we should be trying to accommodate. It also allows us to work with folks for whom English is a second language. We currently support Spanish, Hmong, and French; the system has the ability to handle up to 10,000 or so languages.
In addition to guest tracking and shopping history, PEPbase generates several reports to illustrate both demographic and consumption trends for an individual pantry in relation to the alliance as a whole. These "real-time" reports come in both table are graph form, and reinforce Pepartnership's goal of transparency for our donors and the general public.