Let's Combat Food Security
Project overview:
Challenged to solve an issue around food insecurity. Created a website for SMC's Food Pantry to generate greater accessibility and awareness of food resources on campus for students who are suffering from food insecurity.
3 Months (Fall 2021)
Creators: Dream team

Challenge: How might people directly help those in their own community who are without means to eat healthful meals?
Design Process:
This was a quarter-long group project (8 weeks). My group, The Dream Team, and I conducted end-to-end research through this project's design process. Our group conducted interviews to validated design decisions followed by testing with target users. Our design evolved along several rounds of iteration at different stages.
Our group decided to focus on the Bodega, Santa Monica College's centralized food pantry, where currently enrolled students are welcome to come by and choose from a selection of non-perishable food items, fresh produce, Everytable meals, toiletries, and clothing items. The Bodega has evolved from a drive through pantry to a community food market. The best part about the market is it's FREE and AVAILABLE TO ALL SMC STUDENTS. Read this case study to see how our group participated in helping our own SMC student community access food resources that are available to them.
Let's Create a Centralized Digital Space for SMC Students to Easily Access Food Resources and Feel Empowered

- The Dream Team -
Through our key findings we as a team wanted to help students around their feelings of embarrassment. The amount of students suffering from food security we found to be alarming. While student's only way to get items from the Bodega is in campus store, our team felt that it's important to keep student privacy sacred.
Social Stigmas
54% Food Security
SMCFood Resources
Students don't utilize financial resources due to constant fear of being judged
Santa Monica College's students and survey respondents suffer from food insecurity
SMC's 1st student community food market, Bodega serves approx. 600 students monthly
Our Team was able to conduct interviews at the Bodega on Santa Monica's campus. After conducting interviews we noticed students stood in long lines waiting for hours for service due to limited capacity. Our team also surveyed students and found out that 4 out of 5 returning Bodega shoppers would love to donate what they can as a thank you to Bodega. We found out that students loved the idea of giving back to the Bodega if given the opportunity.
"We don't have an adequate inventory system, we eyeball inventory and receive shipments randomly"
Thaddeus Phillips
Bodega Staff
"My class is on Wednesday at the main campus, so it's pretty convenient for me, but I bet for some people it is not."
SMC Student English Major
Survey Testing:

In an effort for solutions we came up with 3 concepts: SMC Swipes, the My Bodega app, and a Bodega Website. After voting unanimously the Dream team decided to place our efforts into building a "My Bodega app" front end. As a group we often asked questions if it was necessary to concentrate on the backend end of the things as well. It wasn't until we interviewed with staff member Thaddeus were we learned the difficulties of accurately inputing inventory. We later pivoted the project to Bodega Website. It only made since that the Bodega start with building a website before venturing into a mobile app. Here was our team's design process before pivoting.


Student uses the Handpicked app to order the items they want and chooses the convenient pick up time.
Bodega staff receives the order and arranges the items into a box.
Student goes to the Bodega location at the chosen pick up time and receives the items they ordered.

Prototype: Low Fidelity

See What's in Stock
Pick Up Time
Prototyping: High Fidelity
Our Team was able to conduct interviews at the Bodega on Santa Monica's campus. After conducting interviews we noticed Students stood in long lines waiting for hours for service due to limited capacity. Students also loved the idea of giving back to the Bodega if given the opportunity.


Instead of solving for two problems, the frontend & backend of Bodega our team decided to pivot. Originally our team sought out to solve for long lines and to help the Bodega provide seamless and efficient service. While testing we noticed since covid restrictions had lifted that the long lines were no longer a problem. We wondered if an app would be the best solution, especially when staff member, Thaddeus, shared with us how counting inventory is more likely eyeballed.

Design Systems Solution:

Weighing food items that comes in and goes out can help count inventory. The total weight of donated crates measured by its singled items can help with the Bodega's inventory system and provide a more accurate inventory system.
Testing and faculty interviews helped our team to foresee complexities within the Bodega's inventory system making it difficult to add in inventory as needed for daily app orders.
Our team felt that students will benefit better from a bodega website rather than an app. We asked ourselves "what is more important for students at this current time?"

After presenting a design system to the team on a solution to the Bodega's inventory issues the Dream Team voted to move towards a concept number 3, the official Bodega Website starting with wireframes. Unfortunately, because we chose to pivot so late in the project we had already completed testing with app prototype and time constraints kept us from being able to test out final project.

Bodega Official Website: SITEMAP

Bodega Official Website: Wireframes


Bodega Official Website: Final High Fidelity Prototype

After interviewing and testing our team focused on simplifying the site's information architecture to display a clear vision of what the Bodega has to offer, starting with the HOME page. We felt the most important pieces of information is that the Bodega is Free and Available to All Students. We also displayed not one but two call to actions based on two separate needs: visiting, and volunteering.

Through our research and development we found the need of community that the Bodega takes pride in. It's important to our group to create an environment where students can not only get involved but form a social society with their peers through wellness & basic needs, giving students courage they are not alone.

As a student it can be overwhelming to find the exact resource you need on SMC's website. Here would be one go to location where students can find all meal projects and food resources as well as other health and wellness programs.

The About section describes what the Bodega is and is an instructional space where students find out information prior to visiting. With Covid in place there are limitations to the Bodega's capacity that's important to know before visiting.


The Bodega Website was a success. The site's information architecture covered all necessities in an easy to navigate, minimal, fun, vibrant, and cohesive design. The website was designed on webflow and stays consistent with Bodega's brand elements. Not only was our team's prototype successful but our vision video came out amazing. Each team member worked collectively to produce high qualIty material. It was a pleasure to work with the Dream Team, each team member is smart and extremely talented. As I reflect on areas of improvement, I realized that as a team we could learn how to divide more work amongst group to evenly distribute work. Maybe presenting ideas at first initial meeting after briefing to get clear idea on the weeks agenda would be more helpful. Also, I believe it was very important to speak with more staff members and stakeholders early on to understand the problem from all directions.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

- Pablo Picasso
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