In a sprawling urban landscape, a diverse array of food banks, donation centers, and food-related organizations operate independently. While their mission is clear—alleviating food insecurity—there is a glaring absence of a unified platform for them to collaborate and efficiently distribute resources.
These organizations face a significant challenge in expanding their reach. Establishing new distribution hubs, like food pantries, is an urgent need. However, the arduous and complex entry process serves as a formidable deterrent for prospective initiators.
On the other side of the equation, the individuals who depend on these food pantries often encounter a dated and unfamiliar experience. The traditional approach of queuing up in long lines for access to these services feels outdated and inefficient.
To understand the challenges and needs for a volunteer’s day to day tasks, our team members volunteered on several occasions to deliver food to patrons of the Nourish LA pantry and uncover what paint points there are.
The current planning process requires a lot of logistical problem solving, the biggest being coordinating deliveries between volunteer routes and patrons.
Patron details are analog printouts. Deliveries are manually checked off and require the volunteers to call or text patrons upon arrival.
Our team got a deeper understanding of the families, what they are ordering, and what their barriers to entry are including scheduling & ordering.
Nourish LA Founder
“I don't think this is hard, honestly this is actually really easy. I think what's hard is getting people to create the infrastructure.”
Natalie started her community food pantry, Nourish LA, in 2020 during the middle of the pandemic. Natalie has already partnered with dozens of organizations and handed out over 1.3 million pounds of food since opening.
She loves helping people and wishes there was a solution to the logistical challenges she faces while running her operation. Natalie was an invaluable asset to the design of Foodhub, gleaning first hand insight into what is needed to start and manage a food pantry. Our user flow and app features were directly influenced based on input from Natalie and her team.
Owner of Jackson Market
“Nobody has ever reached out to us! I’ve been here twenty years and not a single organization has contacted us about food waste or donations.”
Owner of Jackson Market and Jackson Cafe in Culver City, CA, Tony bought the struggling market back in 2000 and has turned it into a hidden bungalow tucked away in an unassuming neighborhood. He gave us a lot of insight into how his cafes dispose of their food waste and the lack of outreach from food organizations.
Tony told us that he would love to be able to contribute to the community more easily through an app. He described the ebb and flow of how much food he needs to throw out, which it makes it a headache to try and call an organization for pickup. If Tony could easily connect with food organizations, he could contribute even more to his community .
Location: South LA
Age: 32 years old
Family: Two children
"You try going shopping with a four and six-year-old!
Lizbeth is a working mom who prioritizes her children’s health above all else. With the long hours she works, it’s difficult to go grocery shopping with the sparse options through her city. She has to squeeze in shopping before picking up her kids, or go with two irritable children.
Lizbeth prefers to use fresh produce for her family's meals, but in a pinch she can improvise with canned goods. Having a local organization that can provide her fresh groceries would be a game changer, even more so if they could deliver directly to her at home.
Our solution is Foodhub, an app dedicated to connecting food organizations, volunteers, and patrons onto a single platform. Foodhub streamlines the process of creating and managing a food pantry for organizers.
Everything from managing tasks, creating events, assigning volunteer duties, and processing pickup and delivery orders, our solution does it.
Foodhub allows for patrons to order from pantries with ease, using the browse-order-track process designed for a seamless user experience.
How It Works
To serve the needs of the community correctly, our team agreed that there needs to be separate dashboards for the organizers, the volunteers, and the patrons.
The organizer dashboard has everything needed to start and manage a food pantry operation. Foodhub will walk organizers through the setup process and provides a platform to organize volunteers, tasks, and orders
Volunteers need a way to list their weekly availability, communicate with patrons or organizers, and manage their tasks. Foodhub provides a platform for volunteers to work more efficiently and serve the community better.
Through the patron dashboard users can browse nearby pantries, place an order for pickup or delivery, track the order status, communicate with the organization or volunteers directly though the app.
The project was a resounding success. "FoodHub" was presented to Natalie, who enthusiastically embraced the solution and expressed her commitment to collaborating with us in its development. She believes that "FoodHub" holds the key to overcoming Nourish LA's logistical challenges.
However, there is room for further elaboration on the app's features. A deeper dive into the intricacies of each step in the user journey is essential. We can also refine the content to be more concise and prioritize the integration of imagery, illustrations, and iconography to enhance visual storytelling.
This project has provided invaluable insights into the complex logistical challenges faced by food organizers and their patrons. In the face of the rampant food insecurity our city confronts, our primary mission is to channel our efforts into designing solutions to combat hunger. We take pride in the work we've accomplished for this concept and offer it as a blueprint for those striving to support these organizations.
Should "FoodHub" advance to development, Natalie has expressed her keen interest in being the first to implement it within her operation, underscoring the immediate and real-world impact of our work.
Site built in Framer