Why we created an app that connects people to food resources

Why is it important to build a FoodFinder app? originally appeared in Quora: A place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

answer Jack Griffin, Founder/CEO of FoodFinder, Quora:

After leading FoodFinder and serving people who have been using Pantry Locator for nearly 10 years, I find it very difficult to find reliable information about pantry for three main reasons.

#One: The pantry doesn’t have the money to properly raise awareness of the service. The pantry is a place where food is provided free of charge to people in need, so it is important to know exactly when and where that food is served. Feeding America and 200 local food banks have million-dollar advertising budgets, but these organizations aren’t the place for hungry families to find food. Despite having the smallest budget and smallest digital footprint across the entire supply chain, the marketing responsibility with billions of free meals actually served lies with the pantry itself.

#2: A Google search alone is not enough to give food-hungry families a clear place and time to appear for food aid. This barrier is particularly influential given the surge in online searches for pantry in recent years. Between 2016 and 2020, Google searches for “pantry near me” increased 620%, from 919,000 to 6.6 million. However, it is very common for food pantries to be classified as “ministerial” or “missionary” when operating outside the church. As a result, a regular Google search for the pantry is omitted entirely because it is unlabeled. And for locations marked as food pantry, only addresses or phone numbers can be provided.

#three: Existing alternatives to barriers #1 and #2 fall far short of effective and scalable solutions in terms of practicality and information quality. Most notable are the help hotlines such as United Way’s 211, as well as other pantry collectors such as: Pantry | Soup Kitchen | food bank. Hundreds of times we have seen how disappointed our users are with the outdated 211 hotline. They first tried to call 211 for help, but they couldn’t and they turned to us instead. And for other aggregator websites, little information is maintained, or geographic coverage is limited, or both.

What do these barriers add? The fight against hunger that is fragmented, inefficient and difficult to navigate. Why is this important? If the millions of Americans living with food insecurity today, but not before coronavirus and before inflation, don’t know where their food comes from, They cannot and will not get that help.

We created FoodFinder to bridge this gap and connect those who seek help with where to get help. After more than 8 years of growth, FoodFinder is now a national non-profit organization. Website And mobile app Helping food insecure Americans find the nearest pantry and get help.

FoodFinder has already reached out to 1.5 million people to help find their pantry, including 1.2 million who have used our services in the past two years due to COVID and inflation. In our hometown of Atlanta, soaring costs have connected 31,790 residents to free food information in the past six months, and that number has risen to nearly 90,000 Metro Atlanta residents since the COVID-19 outbreak in two years. before.

We have come a long way, but we know that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done. To learn more about our cause, check out: About us page of our website. Make an online donation to directly support our ability to connect hungry families to free food. Donation Portal (It means the world to us and the people we serve)!

Thanks for reading and thanks for your support!

this question originally appeared in Quora – A place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.


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