Physical Layout and Environment

Making the food pantries look like an open, modern place to get food and not a bland, grey place is one thing that would make clients less embarrassed and more excited to be receiving assistance. First impressions are everything, so walking into a comfortable waiting room and being greeted by friendly staff could make all the difference. You want their experience to feel as “normal” as possible so organizing the food into their different food groups and putting them in different rows or shelves will give them clients a grocery store feel. A practice of some food pantries is to have grocery bags of food brought out to the clients after they were approved for assistance. I think to make it feel more personal they should be brought to the food storage area and shown what’s being put in those bags to reinforce a more natural shopping experience. To take this idea a step further, the clients could choose a certain number of items from each food group. This would help with pantries be more organized and clients feel more comfortable.

With food pantries you want to think ‘How can I make this place inviting and look a way that people will want to come or be here.’ If when you walk in, the place looks dull and bland, why would you even bother coming in, just reminding you of the tough place you’re in and being there isn’t helping. If people are willing to go and get help, you shouldn’t have to remind them with such terrible lighting, or the paint color of the room. Also, based on certain spaces, if you were unsure of what the actual organization is about, then you would have never guessed because everything could be pushed to the back, and the place could just look like an office, or make you think that they hold the classes in a different location, and that may lead people to not even bother coming. It could be hard enough for them to make it to your building, and then maybe them thinking that they have to somehow get somewhere else for the actual help is what’s pushing them away.

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