Bring dignity, reliability, and speed to New York City’s food pantry system.
Every year, 130 million pounds of free food is distributed to 1.4 million New Yorkers who depend on it. But the process of getting that food has been far from dependable. Food pantries struggled to organize information and modernize their intake process, while people regularly spent hours waiting in line, sometimes ending up with nothing.
NYC Food Assistance Collaborative was looking for a way to both enhance customer service and improve data collection in emergency food. Together we made Plentiful, a free reservation system for food pantries and the people they serve.
First, Do No Harm
This was our motto throughout the project. We had to streamline the system already in place, not upend what was already working or create an entirely new system.
This started by understanding ingrained behaviors, beliefs, and needs. Through a series of in-depth interviews, forums, and surveys, we compiled a collection of insights around how families interacted with the pantries, and how the pantries themselves operated internally. This set us on the right path to design an experience that improved things for everyone.
First, Do No Harm. This started by understanding ingrained behaviors, beliefs, and needs.
A clean, friendly Android-based mobile and SMS experience.
A customizable scheduling, info capture and communication tool.
Before we could streamline the system, we needed to create the brand. Our primary brand goal was to demonstrate to both families and pantries that this service was clear, trustworthy, welcoming, and informative. All our work was tested to ensure it resonated with our audience.
Naming + Logo
Colors & Typography
When naming Plentiful, we wanted a direction that was true to the benefit, not the problem. To balance the aspirational nature of the name, we paired it with an icon that clearly represents what Plentiful is all about: getting families the food they need to thrive.
To soften the overall utilitarian nature of the app, we chose a fresh looking and welcoming color palette. Roboto was chosen as the brand typeface for its high legibility and extended language support.
Our primary brand goal was to demonstrate to both families and pantries that this service was clear, trustworthy, welcoming, and informative.
The Plentiful App
We built & launched the tool for pantries to fully ensure the system was functioning seamlessly before launching the family-facing experience. For pantries our goal was make their system faster, more efficient, and measurable. For families our goal was to make an easier and more dignified experience.
For the families
The Plentiful app for clients provides a simple and reliable way to book appointments.
Find food pantries across all 5 boroughs
Schedule an appointment at a Plentiful pantry
Support in 9 different languages
Android app and SMS service
Check-in, registration & documentation verification
I just downloaded and installed the Plentiful App, which helps you find food pantries all over New York City, and I love it!
Client of St. Clement’s Food Pantry, Manhattan
For the pantries
We designed a dashboard to provide Pantries with a slew of tools tailored just for them.
Set up and manage reservation times
Manage walk-in’s and create waiting lists
Streamline the client check-in process
Registration and document verification
Manage client profiles & communications
Customizable intake forms based on individual pantry needs
Analytics to track impact and required resources
We visited pantries all over the city and nothing fit until Plentiful: Get rid of the line outside, keep people warm and indoors.
Executive Director, Xavier Mission, Manhattan
We made a robust dashboard giving them a holistic overview of the entire program.
View details of all Pantries in the Plentiful network
Manage Pantry details
Message directly with Pantry staff
View high-level customer analytics including demographics and booking statistics for each pantry as well as the whole network
For pantries our goal was make their system faster, more efficient, and measurable. For families our goal was to make an easier and more dignified experience to find pantries and book appointments. And funders needed a way to see a holistic view of the entire program.
Getting the word out
Finally, we created a beautiful and easy to navigate site to help Plentiful educate food service programs around the city and a collection of signage, collateral and promotional items for use by Pantries and their customers.
Examples of Pantry wayfinding
Reusable branded tote bags to replace plastic bags
Informational brochures and hand-outs for use by Pantries
A Huge Impact for New Yorkers
To date, we've improved hundreds of thousands of pantry visits for over a hundred thousand clients all across New York City.
That’s more food to more clients, in less time. That’s shorter lines. Less time waiting in the cold. Or in the heat. That’s reliable data that can be used to help improve pantry operations and consistently enhance how New Yorkers get the food they depend on, all while making a system feel more like a service.