Sharing Food, Caring for Communities
What is Project Vendigo?
A non-profit vending machine to access food
We believe in Art of giving and our mission is to provide access to healthy food for people in need through innovative vending machine solutions, creating a equitable community for all.
Problem: People in need for food often rely on others to distribute food, which can be a complicated and challenging process that isn’t always available 24/7. This leaves them without access to food when it’s not being distributed.
Solution: Install vending machines that dispense low-cost or free food for people in need. Donated snacks can be used to refill these machines, making the process simple and sustainable.
Challenges: Free food via vending machines without guard rails can be subject to misuse. Therefore, measures should be taken to ensure that the vending machines are customized enough to dispense food to those in need. Location of the vending machine is another big challenge.
Benefits: Vending machines make it easier for people to donate food, eliminate the need for manual distribution, and provide access to food 24/7 for people in need.
Overall, this is a great idea that has the potential to make a significant impact in helping homeless people access food. By focusing on the benefits and addressing the challenges, you can effectively communicate this idea to others and gain support for its implementation.
Project Idea: Vending Machines for communities that need access to food in Los Angeles region
Introduction: The project aims to provide access to food for communities that are in need in Los Angeles through the installation of vending machines. This initiative is necessary because a significant percentage of the population in LAUSD lives at or below the
poverty line, with one of the highest concentrations of low-income students in the state. Additionally, the point-in-time count conducted in February 2021 estimated that over 69,000 people were experiencing homelessness in LA County, with a 4.1% increase from 2020.
● Increased 24/7 access to food for communities in need.
● To install vending machines in schools and communities where
students and residents can access snacks, drinks, and food.
● To work with non-profit organizations to identify the best locations for installing
the vending machines.
● To ensure that the vending machines are easy to use and accessible to those
who need them.
Research: Vendigo started as a research project initially to identify if vending machines can be a real solution for people looking for access to food 24×7. After gaining some confidence, the research focused on vending machine vendors and type of vending machines available to be customized for people in need of access to food 24×7.
Non-Profit Collaboration: Collaboration with non-profit organizations especially WISH (Welcoming Interim Shared Housing) that work for communities looking food and shelter needs was a game changer. Brainstorming sessions with WISH to expand the idea of Project VENDIGO resulted in identifying the right locations where vending machines can be installed for people to access food.
Location Selection: Location selection is key to the success of Project Vendigo. Closely working with non profit and reaching out to community leaders to identify the best locations for installing the vending machines. After, many rounds of discussions about food selection, accessibility, and method of operation, the very first vending machine was humbly unveiled at Audubon Middle School. Installation in other locations are work in progress.
Funding: Sustainability of the project was also researched well. While donations are backbone for success, Project Vendigo is also looking to enable the success of this project by installing for profit vending machines that can sustain the non profit vending machine that is installed in communities that need the most. This way, the for-profit vending machine can cover the costs for the free/non-profit vending machine.
Access Control: The project will ensure the vending machines will be accessed in a controlled way. For now the installed vending machine leverage tokens that are distributed to community members in need. The machines are customized with guard rails and access controls to ensure no misuse. It is a learning process.
Compliance: The project will ensure the healthy food offered in the vending machines strictly complies with the LAUSD’s food policy.
● Increased/24-7 access to food for low-income and communities in need.
● Improved health outcomes for students and community members.
● Increased community involvement in addressing the issue of food insecurity.
● Increased collaboration between non-profit organizations, schools, and
community members in addressing issues related to food insecurity.
This project aims to address the issue of food insecurity among low-income and homeless people in LAUSD. By installing vending machines in areas where there is a severe need for food, the project will provide access to snacks, drinks, and food to those who need it the most. The project will work with non-profit organizations, schools, and community members to identify the best locations for installing the vending machines and ensure that the food offered in the vending machines complies with the LAUSD’s food policy. The project will improve the health outcomes of low-income students and community members and increase community involvement in addressing the issue of food insecurity.
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