Growing a Brand & Stewarding the Cornucopia with The Hunger Coalition

by Jess Bejot | Client Story

The Hunger Coalition, an Idaho food bank located in the Wood River Valley, was looking to create more accessibility for locals in need of support. Though food banks provide a bounty of support for individuals in need—they are not always well received with celebration—and more often shunned from the shame of needing the help.

Non-Profit Branding, a main ingredient in growing a garden community

After an intensive process of evaluating the services, The Hunger Coalition underwent a comprehensive dive into their messaging and how best to overcome the stigma of a food bank in 2016, bringing abundance to the forefront of their communication—and not just assistance. 

The Hunger Coalition's Logo with tagline: Building community through food

A conversation with Kristin McMahon, Communications Supervisor for The Hunger Coalition, reveals how even if you have all the ingredients, the dirt, the water, the seeds—that sometimes it takes branding and communication to make a garden, and a community, grow. 

“Before we began considering a brand refresh, our website and brand identity were pretty somber, in keeping with that of the traditional food bank. It was sad muted colors and a story of folks in need—just overall dismal messaging. And the aesthetics around that brand seemed to reinforce the stigma of food assistance,” she said. 

There are a lot of entry points for the local community to engage with The Hunger Coalition, and the ultimate challenge was how to organize all those tiny details and make it user-friendly explained McMahon. 

“We went through several bucketing exercises with the staff and the board, digging into how we work.”

They were not digging into the operations to change them but digging into the messaging around the operations. How would an individual engage with the material, find information, and where would that person engage in that information—primarily online, and then through printed materials. Every detail that was important for the organization to do its job became every detail that was important to represent visually—right down to the headers on a navigation panel. 

Rebranding – bringing it all together for a bright and hopeful message

Blue + Pine joined The Hunger Coalition’s discussion on rebranding after they completed their evaluation with their consultant and found a cadence with the food bank that continues to radiate access, health, and action several years later. 

“Before we began considering a brand refresh, our website and brand identity were pretty somber, in keeping with that of the traditional food bank. It was sad muted colors and a story of folks in need—just overall dismal messaging. And the aesthetics around that brand seemed to reinforce the stigma of food assistance,” she said. 

It was a multi-year process for The Hunger Coalition that began in 2016. The website and re-branding were released in 2018.

“They were operating with their old brand and website when I first spoke to The Hunger Coalition. It featured colors of brown, yellow, and sage green—and it felt kind of dowdy and drab,” said Jess Bejot, Principal at Blue + Pine. “They were looking for a rebrand that better reflected their goals for the future. They were interested in creating a fresh approach to food security in our community.”

The solution became rooted in The Hunger Coalition’s mission, to nourish—and today’s logo and branding materials represent the positive simplicity of those goals with a focus on the food itself.

Style/Mood Board of the Hunger Coalition's brand assets: color, typography, logo, and veggies.

“We needed to welcome people and encourage pride in working with us,” said McMahon. “Not focusing on assistance but on abundance—when we launched the Bloom brand—with the kids’ truck, the community farm, we were focusing on being able to engage with people.”

And with recent pushes in population growth in the Wood River Valley and along with the many impacts of the pandemic, The Hunger Coalition’s improved messaging could not have arrived at a better time—to be a positive support system that the community did want to engage with.

“Jess and her partner at the time brought something fresh and fun. We ran with that, the new tag line—all of it brought the dream aesthetic to fruition. We were in this major figuring out phase, some trial and error, we needed uniformity. They nailed down the aesthetics so perfectly to reflect us and what we were trying to do for the community,” she said.  

They nailed down the aesthetics so perfectly to reflect us and what we were trying to do for the community,” she said.  


From dirt pile to grassroots to lots of love out of the gate, the desired outcome has served over time and has continued to. McMahon says people are still remarking on their reactions to the website site when they google food bank—and that they are pleasantly surprised. 

“You’re down and out, needing food, and the last thing you expect is this gorgeous bright color, an empowering message, and most importantly, a welcoming invitation to be a part of a community, that is happy, healthy, and fresh.”

“I’d say their photographs combined with their mission and vision was the vehicle that drove the creative bus,” said Bejot. 

Organizing Content for an easy human-first experience

“The biggest challenge had to be the enormity of their website build. The Hunger Coalition is a large non-profit organization. They run a farm, a garden, a food warehouse, a community center, a youth internship program, low-income farmers markets, a community collaboration with The Community Library, a school snacks program, and MORE….”

Bejot says an incredible amount of time was required to organize the content into an easy-use, interactive website that served the community, donors, and the board and staff.

“We now think of it internally as the access programs, who the users are for our food pantries, and the resiliency programs which have more of an element of developing skills or developing community and any sort of community building type program. And then of course there’s the advocacy work. From grouping it in those terms, that’s what became the Eat! Grow! Act!—our three buckets,” said McMahon. 

Which are now the literal navigation menu headers.

Building Brand Awareness in Hailey, Idaho with Creative Assets

Bejot said once the site was launched, the vinyl-wrapped bins quickly followed in 2019—and from there Blue + Pine has been keeping a watchful eye on optimizing how the branding remains functional for The Hunger Coalition. 

A photo of a vinyl wrapped food bin in the sunflower garden at Bloom Community Farms in Hailey, Idaho.

Impact Report Goes Digital in 2021 and continues into 2022

“In 2020, we gave it a lovely behind-the-scenes revamp with a new theme and serious optimization. We launched their highly animated and beautiful Impact Report micro-site at the end of 2021. Currently, we are dreaming about a new micro-site that will feature the Root-Cause of their mission, similar to the Impact Report of last year.” Since the writing of this article, we’ve launched the newest Digital Impact Report, 2022 with a focus on Social Justice and the Root Cause of Hunger.

According to McMahon, The Impact Report is just “way cooler” than an average annual report. “It’s digital, it’s colorful, and there’s no doubt that we will stick with this format,” she said. The report has been received and circulated in many different channels and the peanut gallery has nothing but five-star reviews—the innovative format that Bejot presented is getting read instead of pilling up with the rest of the mail.

Examples of The Impact Report 2022 displayed on two Mac computers.

And that success might be due to Bejot’s commitment to understanding her client wholly—and building out an effective branding guide where The Hunger Coalition can manage their daily communications effectively.

“I had to reimagine what community-supported hunger looked like. I too would queue the sad songs and puppy dog eyes when thinking about food insecurity. Through working with THC, I have found a new way of thinking about community support,” she explained. 

“They have taught me so much. It is an honor to have a small part in carrying out their mission and vision. I am a believer and can’t wait to volunteer in the garden or farm this summer. Their leadership has been life-changing for me. Honestly, all of it makes me so proud. I am thrilled at the organizational use of their brand. Top to bottom, inside and out, they are the poster children of effective branding.”


Bejot says one visit to their newest location, the micro-farm, will tell that story. Each mural, website, flyer, bin, the surface area is touched with vibrant colors, juicy veggies, and friendly fonts. 

“I can see a flyer hanging anywhere in town and instantly know it is theirs. I am proud they love their brand and use it so well!”

Results: Double the Engagement since 2019

According to McMahon, The Hunger Coalition has seen their engagement double since 2019. As of November of 2022, over 9 thousand unique visitors have visited their site, averaging close to 2 thousands visitors a month.

Learn how Blue + Pine can assist your service-based business or non-profit through strategic branding, story-based marketing, gorgeous design, and clear messaging. Get Started with one of our branding packages!