Service design with Feeding America

Understand Feeding America's journey to fight hunger and explore new services that can improve the overall experience.


Human-centered Design Studio (DSGN 401-3), Northwestern University

MS Engineering Design Innovation, Winter 2018



Beginning of our journey


Feeding America is a nationwide hunger-relief organization. They manage a network of food banks to prevent food waste and bring nutritious food to people in need. In the Chicago area, Feeding America is partners with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD)  to help rescue food and distribute them to local food pantries for direct donation to the people in hunger. Feeding America distributes over 4 billion meals a year through their work in the U.S.


Identifying the problem


In order to understand the whole food distribution chain, our cohort started with observing food suppliers (Trader Joe's, Jewel Osco, etc...) and volunteering at agencies (food banks, food pantries,etc...). We were able to place ourselves in the different stakeholder's perspectives to fully understand the needs and the problems they were facing. We also conducted service excursions and interviews with stakeholders for additional insights. Through this initial research, our team identified a white space in the lack of inter-agency communication and knowledge transfer.


How Might we

Build a supportive network for agencies to share information and connect to improve their performance?


Creating a solution



Bridge is a platform for food suppliers, volunteers, patrons, and agencies to share information and connect.

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Bridge Features

Volunteer Page

  • Volunteers can see all events happening in the community and sign-up through a link to agencies specific websites.

Donation Page

  • Agencies can post food types of their need and food suppliers can reach out to donate to specific agencies.

Bridge Adviser

  • Agencies in need of help for improvement could apply for a Bridge Adviser who is a regional consultant for agencies.


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agency main page.png
Bridge Advisor.png

"So many non-profits do what they do because that’s what they know, they don't know what’s new and better."

-Community Relations Manager, Agency A

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Design Research

  • Volunteered at the Evanston Interfaith and helped distribute perishable food to food insecure families

  • Interviewed agency manager at Connections for the homeless for details in food distribution process

  • Did secondary research on Feeding America and GCFD's current strategy and searched for white space.


  • Created paper prototype for parts of Bridge and digitized using Figma

  • Met with agency managers for user testing of Bridge


Moving forward

Bridge can be improved and revised through future iterations of user testing with higher fidelity prototypes. Initial goal of connecting agencies may grow bigger to impact Feeding America as a whole with the information and resources provided with Bridge. Ultimate goal for this service design is to open new design spaces that can help stakeholders achieve their goals to fight hunger locally and nationally, and we hope Bridge can contribute positively to our community



Team Personalize

Left to Right : Jasmine Kim, Beth Lester, Anna O'Donnell, Mert Pekdemir, Joshua Kim (EDI '18)

Left to Right : Jasmine Kim, Beth Lester, Anna O'Donnell, Mert Pekdemir, Joshua Kim (EDI '18)