Local Food Pantry
- How we designed the Burlington - Hampshire Area Food Pantry website
Burlington – Hampshire Area Food Pantry has been serving the community of Hampshire, Illinois for over 30 years. They have grown from one shelf of food in the basement of a church to a full warehouse of goods that people can come and “shop” to pick up their needed items.
One of the neat things about the Pantry is that all its board members and volunteers are from local businesses and churches. From Banks to the Women’s Club and Small Churches to School Districts – the whole community is supporting this effort to help the needy of the community.
The Food Pantry does a great job of assisting those in need, but they were faced with the problem of how to get the word out to the community.
There was no way that people could find their organization online in order to get the help they required. Not to mention, even keeping people informed on distribution dates and hours of operation.
The Burlington - Hampshire Area Food Pantry was looking for a way to better engage the community and get the word out about their resources.
Our goal for this project was three-fold:
- Raise community awareness
- Keep the community informed about different events
- Highlight our community partners
A website is a huge key to raising community awareness and support for the organization.
Our Design Process
Our first step was to meet with key leaders of the Pantry to discuss their vision and goals for the new website.
There’s so much more involved in designing an effective website that just grabbing a template and slapping in some content.
We needed to understand more about the Pantry. Some of our questions included:
- How were you founded?
- Who are the biggest supporters?
- What is the vision of the Pantry?
- What is your greatest need behind this website?
These answers gave us a great foundation to start organizing and gathering important content and features of the site. We worked hard to prioritize everything to ensure the most important information was showcased on the homepage for easy access.
From there we sketched out some initial concept designing and ideas.
You can see some of our early sketches.
Sketching ideas really helped us quickly iterate through different ideas and designs we created. Once we had a more substantial mockup created, we showed it to several members of the Pantry board for approval.
They liked the design and gave some great feedback on additional things to include in the actual website.
We quickly moved into building the actual website in the browser, because a mockup in only really an image – not a real website.
One of the things that was important for the website was to not look too commercial or business-like. We wanted people to feel welcome and relaxed when visiting the site as well as the actual Pantry location.
To achieve this goal, we designed an interface that was sprinkled with brighter colors, textures and lots of photos.
Managing the Website
Because we need the site to be easily updated and editable, we built it on top of the WordPress Content Management System. This allows members of the Pantry to quickly and easily change distribution dates, add photos and update any content that needs changing.
We have an ongoing relationship of training and coaching the Pantry to ensure everything flows smoothly with the new website.
The Live Website
Well, the paint brushes are washed, and our code chisels are put away– let’s see how it turned out!
And we’re live – the new Pantry website is up and running.
Be sure to head over to The Pantry's Website to check it out for yourself.
Some things we learned
- Working with such an amazing group of people really humbled us as we witnessed their love, care and sacrifices for the community. We were really privileged to help out with one of the distribution days at the Pantry.
- Calendar dates and weeks are sometimes interesting. The Pantry meets every 3rd Monday and Saturday following that Monday. The brain hurt trying to figure out how to code those dates into the Calendar :)
- Even with all our technology, things haven't changed much – food and shelter are still the basic necessities of life.
At Burlington – Hampshire Area Food Pantry, our vision is to help the needy of our community. Before this year, there was no way for people to find us online. Not only has Caleb created an engaging website, but he’s also built a system that allows us to easily make changes to keep our people informed. Thanks Caleb for helping us continue to fulfill our pantry’s vision!
– Laurie Dunbar, Food Pantry President
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