Design Project for Food Pantry of Central New York
(Group work)

Group members
Forough Jafari, Han Zhao, Kayeong Hong, Tianyou Hui

What is Food Pantry?

A Food Pantry is a community that serves residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a certain area.

Where are the Food Pantries?

There are 25 Food Pantries around Syracuse University. Many of them open 1 or 2 times a week. Most of them open on weekday only.

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Retrieved from

Retrieved from

How to get food from there?

Let's use Vineyard Christian Food Pantry as an example.

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What about the volunteers?

We knew that they don't do advertising or any activities to attract volunteers for the guests. People who work there heard about it from other people. How are the managers in touch with volunteers? Are they using technology or they do it in an old fashion way?

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"Volunteers here are different each week. Most volunteers are people who use the food pantry. We cannot teach them to use computer software as next time they may not come."

Galyn Manager of University United Methidist Church Food Pantry

What else did we find?

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"(After collecting the forms), I do the counting work once a month. I need to spend a whole day working on that. I do this work in the old fashion way."

Galyn Manager of University United Methidist Church Food Pantry

"We don't ask if they really have three people in their family. We trust them."
"Our food sources are mainly Food Bank, corporate donations, and personal donations."

Cooper Manager of Vineyard Christian Food Pantry

OK. So, what can we do?

Can we provide an efficient way for the manager to know the guests' need and recruiting more volunteers?

Can we design an app for the guests?

Do they have a smartphone? Yes. Do they have access to the Internet? Yes. Are they familier to ues apps? Yes. What's their favorite app? Facebook. —— They only use their phones to entertain. They don't look seriously at their phones.

We talked with 18 guests and asked them if they want to tell the manager what kind of services they need. Do they prefer to cantact with the manager by text messages, phone calls, email, or writing on a paper in the food pantry? All the answers were "writing on a paper in the food pantry."

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How could the manager find out the guests’ needs?

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"I am shocked. I've known this person for ten years. I've never thought she would want to be a web developer."

Galyn Manager of University United Methidist Church Food Pantry


• They can interact with the board very easily.

• Any complicated word or explaination can mislead them. Empty papers give them confidence to write.

• The old fashion way works for both managers of the food pantry and guests.

• They wrote down very deep needs that they had for having a better future. Most of their requests are about business and education. The manager of the food pantry was surprised because she said, none of them talk about these needs with them during these ten years that she works there.

How could the manager attract more volunteers?

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• The color and the graphic part of the poster is attractive to them.

• Some of them asked us to access to the form online.

• Some part of forms should be changed.

How could the manager match the guests and the volunteers?

When the manager or a volunteer picks up the forms on the poster, they will receive the volunteers' information. They will match the guests and the volunteers and put a post-it on the service board to organize an event for them.

Our final version

We want to build efficient and reliable connections between guests, volunteer, and managers through the service board, the poster + the form, and the events organized by the manager.

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Finally, how to explain this to the guests, volunteers, and the manager?

You can also scan the QR code on each poster and form to watch this video.

Some later thoughts

In this project, we believed that the most important parts of a design are not what functions you need to add, but why you design this and whether it actually works.