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Hunger Relief

Service Design Project

Service Design Studio, Northwestern

My team partnered with Feeding America, a national hunger relief non-profit, to improve upon hunger relief food distribution systems and services. We discovered problem areas and designed a variety of solutions, which we proposed to Feeding America at the end of the 10-week project.

  • Ethnographic Research

  • Physical Prototyping

  • Service Prototyping

  • Client Engagement

Exploring Solution Spaces

We examined multiple stages of the hunger relief donation process, from sourcing salvaged food from grocery stores, to food distribution at food pantries, to the reception of food by those experiencing food insecurity. Our team spoke with grocery store employees, observed food delivery logistics, volunteered at food pantries and individually interviewed people experiencing food insecurity.

Field research

Store visits

User testing

Design Direction

Our team chose to address the source of the food recovery process at grocery stores, asking:

"How might we incentivize grocery store employees to increase food donations at retail locations?"

Prototyping & Testing Incentivisation Concepts

We used mock-up prototypes with grocery store managers, grocery store floor employees and shoppers. These prototypes allowed us to refine the verbal and visual language used in our concepts and create solutions that would communicate information efficiently and emotionally to grocery store employees. 

Card sorting materials

Card sorting materials

Protoypes for Employee 'Flair'

Low fidelity mockups for user testing

 Store Mockup

Synthesizing results as a team


We determined that the most significant reasons that employees

did not participate in the food donation process were:

Grocery store employees lack connection, knowledge,

and motivation regarding food donations.


Shoppers don't recognize the hard work that employees put in to donating food.


Employees often lack a firm understanding of food donation procedures.


Managers don't recognize the tangible financial benefits of donating food.


Connection: Employee Flair

Employees would wear flair in the form of pins. These pins positively convey the impact of their donation efforts to shoppers and establish a sense of achievement for employees.


Knowledge: Training Documentation & Monthly Reports

Illustrated posters would help train employees to participate in the food donation process. Monthly reports would encourage store managers to donate and more easily allow them to track their donation efforts. The documents convey information in a relatable, understandable and engaging manner while highlighting the emotional impact of their donation work.

Motivation: Waste Management Program

Our client, Feeding America, would reframe and redefine its service and take a more active role in managing and tracking food waste from grocery stores. Feeding America would surface the financial benefits of reducing dumpster use, and offer B Corp style branding to stores to become 'Certified Retail Rescue Heroes' for marketing opportunities.

Solutions Pitch to Feeding America

At the end of the 10-week project, our team presented our insights and solutions to Feeding America. We used the artifacts we developed and role play instances to illustrate our solutions.

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