In December last year, we were excited to receive a grant from the Community Tech Makers & Maintainers fund from Power to Change. We developed a bid for a collaborative project aimed at improving the ways we can supply food donations across the community.
What are we working on?
Over the next two years, we'll be working together with the Open Food Network to develop their open source software to accept vouchers. This might sound like a simple function, as it's one we're all familiar with seeing on online platforms, but to add it as a new option on the Open Food Network will take a lot of development and testing behind the scenes.
Why is this needed?
At the moment, many of our customer donations are distributed as veg bags to homes referred to us from our local food banks. While this allows us to deliver fresh veg to each recipient's door, we would like them to be able to choose exactly what they would like in their delivery. By giving recipients the flexibility to choose, it means we can maximise the value of donations by making sure the food delivered is what's needed by each family and that it suits their diet, as well as giving people choice at a time when often many things can feel beyond an individual's control.
How will this help?
Once the developments are complete, rather than delivering a set veg bag to recipients referred to us by food banks, we'll be able to create a digital voucher for them instead. The recipient will then be able to order online in the same way all our customers do, and pay for their order using the voucher. Orders will still be delivered direct to their door, free of charge, helping to reduce the stigma of donated food. Working together with the food bank, we'll also provide support to those who need help accessing the internet or ordering online.
What’s happening next?
Currently the development is in the early stages, with initial testing due to begin within the next month. We’re looking forward to seeing how this evolves over the next two years, and the impact it will have across the community in future.