HOUSTON FOOD BANK, HOUSTON TX
The Houston Food Bank is a solution to both hunger and food waste. In the year following Hurricane Harvey, the Food Bank distributed 122 million nutritious meals through its network of 1,500 community partners, including food pantries, soup kitchens, social service providers, and schools in southeast Texas. I’ve been at the Houston Food Bank for five years this October. I’ve always said my design career started at age 10 when I designed a t-shirt for my school play. From then I was always designing fliers and advertisements for events at school. When I attended a pre-college arts program at 15 at University of the Arts in Philadelphia I was introduced to Adobe Illustrator and became totally hooked. Afterwards, in my free time I would spend hours drawing in Illustrator, honing my vector illustration skills. I received my B.A. in Media Studies from Pitzer College where I also discovered a love for filmmaking, photography and social justice. After college, wanting to try something different, I headed to Melbourne, Australia where I received a Master’s degree in Multimedia.
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
After grad school, I returned to my home of Houston TX and shortly after came across the opportunity to do graphic design, videography and photography at the Houston Food Bank. I loved the idea of using my skills and education to further a cause and make an impact. Someone once asked me what the difference is between marketing for non-profits versus for-profits. I truly believe that, broadly speaking, the goals are actually the same: increasing awareness and increasing funds. The difference is that for non-profits, obtaining those goals has further implications. The people who benefit from the services your organization provides are actually aided by collateral that you design if it encourages even one person to become a donor, volunteer, or advocate.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL CHALLENGES, OPPORTUNITIES, URGENCIES IN 2018?
Food banks used to be simply in the pushing out calories business. The mission was just to give people food as efficiently as possible. As the approach has evolved over the years and particularly within the 5 years I’ve been at Houston Food Bank, we’re starting to realize that food distribution is just a part of what we can do to help people in our communities. Hunger doesn’t exist in a vacuum, feeding people is just a piece of the puzzle. At Houston Food Bank, we’re working toward addressing the bigger picture, not just providing food for today but providing ways for our community to change their lives for tomorrow. We are not only striving to distribute mostly nutritious food, but we are also working toward addressing other issues to help break the cycle of poverty by providing other services such as connections to chronic disease management and financial literacy programs, nutrition education, hot meals for kids and teens, and even school supplies for teachers. This continuing evolution and change in the ways we best serve the community present unique and exciting challenges in how we, as marketers, approach our design, our language, and our materials in general.