Yellow Crate: Beta Test

Categories: Projects

One of Enactus JBU’s current project aims to empower food pantry administrators to engage their local community in the fight against hunger.

Over the summer, we heard on the news, along with many others in Northwest Arkansas, that one of our local food pantries had virtually run out of food. They were alerting the community to help. We visited that pantry months later, in November. By that time, the pantry had bins overflowing with cans of green beans and corn. But there was still one empty shelf in the pantry. We asked. And the administrator told us that the shelf was her ‘homeless category’: pop-top cans for easy opening, soft cereals for people with no teeth, and canned protein one wouldn’t need to heat.

The latest data suggests that 48 million Americans live in food insecure homes.

There’s a vast network of food pantries all over the country determined to help the hungry.

The problem we discovered was that, while demand for food pantry services is growing, the supply of food donations was highly seasonal and unpredictable.

In the summer, a typical pantry may not get much of any food from the community. In the fall and around the holidays, when they do get donations, they may not have enough of the right variety to serve their clients.

So we came up with an idea.

Yellow Crate is a technology-based platform that connects food pantries with their community in a convenient and rewarding way.

Approved food pantry administrators build shopping lists online with items, quantities needed, and priority levels.

Donors in their community download the Yellow Crate app in the Apple App Store. As those users walk in to a participating grocery store, their phone automatically receives a notification alerting that person to the top three, most urgent needs straight off the list from the local pantry. Users pledge to buy an item and drop it in the Yellow Crate as they exit the store.

Once all the items on the list are pledged, the food pantry administrator is alerted to swing by the store and pick up his or her donations.

We’ve been collaborating with Seth White (Electrical Engineering class of 2014) who developed the app. Alex Dello Iacono (Business Management class of 2014) at the shopper marketing agency, New Creature, was able to help us design and print our first Yellow Crate collection bin.

Today, we’re delighted to launch the pilot test in Siloam Springs. The Manna Center is our first approved food pantry and Harps in town is our first participating grocery store.

So if you live in Siloam Springs, here’s how you can help:

  1. Download the Yellow Crate app on the App Store–it’s FREE.
  2. Go to Harps. When you walk in to the store, notice the alert on your phone.
  3. Pledge and donate just one item from The Manna Center list.
  4. As you leave the store, drop the item in the Yellow Crate by the exit.

With Yellow Crate, there’s no guessing about a food pantry’s needs. Every donation is meaningful. Our ambition is to scale Yellow Crate to accomplish mass, meaningful.

yellow crate

Author: EnactusJBU

Seeing Opportunities - Taking Action - Enabling Progress

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