Motivation & Necessity
Donation matching software is critical in providing information about food donation availability and it supports community partnerships from donation sites to receiving sites to delivery groups. Currently, some UW dining halls work with food delivery groups to transport left over food to non-profit agencies, but struggle with reliability, transparency issues, resources, and time.
Food Recovery Programs
According to ReFED’s rankings of 27 methods of food recovery work, donation matching software like Meal Matchup ranks 3 out of 27 methods after donation tax incentives and standardized donation regulation in food recovery work. A few key facts to take note of include the following:
1.2 meals are created from each pound of left over food recovered (ReFED).
Transportation of food is one of the larger pain points in food recovery work.
Many large institutions, including the UW, have needs that are not fully addressed by existing apps or food recovery programs.
Smaller donations (under 50 pounds) are costly for food recovery organizations to pick up and deliver, leading us to tap into students signed up for service learning credits as deliverers. (See our "Facts" page for more on the social, environmental, and economic costs.)
We have been addressing these issues by building an interactive, responsive, open source website, Meal Matchup, to connect stakeholders and pair up left over food from UW dining halls with non-profit agencies in need, and facilitate the transportation of food with the help of UW students who register for service learning credits and deliver the food.
We employed six user research methods from surveys to usability tests to design and build Meal Matchup. We also developed training and evaluation materials, and created a sustainability plan to ensure longevity and transferability of the project.
Collaboration Tools & Tech Stack Approach
To design the website, we used Figma and Slack for design and collaboration tools, and to build the open source website, we employed the following tech stack:
React.js for front end implementation in order to have reusable, composable, and stateful components
Firebase to provide built-in functionalities