My Role: Ux Researcher, High Fidelity Prototype Design and Video Editor
Project: Academic Project
Duration: Fall 2022 (Aug - Dec)
Team: Samantha Heinrich | Jonathan Gomez | Cosmo
Let's Help Los Angeles Community Fridges create more awareness and recruit more volunteers.
My team's challenge was to focus on a party that has to deal with food collection and distribution. Therefore how can we create something that can provide an awareness for food insecurities.
The LA Community Fridges is a group of decentralized fridges that support their community with donations and mutual aid. LACF continues to struggle with getting more volunteers to keep the fridges maintain, clean and stocked due to burnout from volunteers.
- Volunteers are low after LA reopening
- People are unaware of LACF
- Fridges policed unnecessarily
- Not all volunteers aware of mutual aid values
Hearing that the LA community fridges suffer with getting more volunteers due to volunteer burn out we decided to create the LACF scavenger hunt that will recruit new volunteers and also educate people on mutual aid.
Secondary research
With our research we found out that there is a rise for decentralized mutual aid networks which help people take action in donating and helping their communities without the need for political guides. There is 12 LACF fridges that are within the LA county which are all operated by the LACF Volunteers. Lastly the US wastes about 30-40% of food which could be given to these fridges instead.
"Some fridges have had to shut down, unfortunately... If no one is available to clean it every week stuff gets dirty." 
- Kira, LACf Onboarding
"One of the biggest challenges is dealing with volunteer burnout... It takes a mental and emotional toll." 
- Kira, LACf Onboarding
"I dont know what [LACF] is..." 
- Venel Sanchez
Field research
When it comes to creating a Scavenger hunt there is a need to gather field research for the place it shall be.
The Trail
We created a google map of the Echo Park scavenger trail which changed twice due to walking the trail and noticing problems.
Some spots were on uneven sidewalks or practically unsafe which had to be put into consideration.
Fallen Fruit were going to be added into the trail but due to it being more of a seasonal type it was taken out.
At the start of the Scavenger hunt web app there was the idea of having where you type in your answer and there would be a small map on the side to help you find the spot.
The LACF Scavenger Hunt
A single day event that is done within Echo Park to raise awareness and get more donations to the LA community fridges. Formal volunteers can bring their friends as they work together to guess clues and learn about mutual aid around the Echo Park Area.
LACF Scavenger Hunt Web App
Users are given a clue with a multiple choice for the answers.
Once they click the correct answer they are given a button that takes them to maps and some information about the spot and it’s mutual aid.
Once there, they can scan a QR code that will activate the next clue and they repeat the process.
Next steps for this project would be to actually make it an event that LACF can do within Echo park. There the app can be turned into an actual website that anyone can use upon the day of the event, and making prizes for those who finish the scavenger hunt such as stickers, a mug or even a LACF pin.
I think what could have been thought upon this project is the idea of creating a more everyday type of version of it. Where anyone can do it at any time without the need of the LACF or just a day that has to go with it.
Food insecurity is a major thing within LA and all around the world. It's important to support such and make sure everyone out there is able to eat without worry. Working on this project has open my eyes to the ideas of helping out communities more than just starting from scratch. There are many groups that are fighting against food insecurity and need more support from people that can give it in different ways. The idea from doing everything yourself isn't needed as you can go out and provide your skills and insight to help a community flourish even more.

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