Battling Food Insecurity
UI/UX, Trademark, Branding, Art Direction
Photos Courtesy of Envato Elements
During the pandemic, a mutual aid movement took off to assist communities facing food insecurity known as community fridges. Community fridges are for the people by the people. Volunteers will clean and maintain the fridges, and anyone can take or donate items as they see fit. “Take what you need, leave what you can.” These fridges are a great resource for those who cannot receive government assistance or might need some help. These fridges can also create a stronger sense of community in their cities or towns because of the solidarity shown between neighbors.
For this project, I will be focusing on the community fridge in Laredo, Texas, and the user-facing version of the app.
Defining the problem
When interviewing Valerie Gonzalez, the lead organizer for the Community Fridge in Laredo, she said one of the issues she finds with running the fridge is not being able to track when the stock starts to run low. There’s no way of telling when the refrigerator runs low or when a donation is made until someone goes to check on it. There are limited volunteers, and they check in on the fridge whenever available, as most volunteers work full-time jobs. Often people will let them know on Instagram by sending them a picture through a direct message if the fridge is running low or if they have left a donation. They do not use security cameras and discourage taking photos while using the refrigerator to maintain the anonymity of the fridge users, so they need another way to keep track of stock that does not involve pictures or video. Another issue they find is that their primary communication with users and donors is through social media. They feel they are missing out on reaching a larger audience who may need their help but do not have social media or consistent internet access.
By enabling location services, the app will alert you that you are near a community fridge location and ask if you would like to check-in.
Checking-in allows volunteers to get a precise count of visitors while maintaining anonymity. Keeping a check-in count can benefit visitors who prefer to stop by when there aren't as many people around.
The app will check you out when you leave the area and send a notification that you may leave a review of your visit.