We love the idea of using technology for good. A new Google search tool is now making it easier to connect people in need with free food services available in their area. The site, findfoodsupport.withgoogle.com, aims to help combat food insecurity, a problem said to affect 1 in 8 Americans at some point in their lifetime. The need for food assistance showed a significant uptick during the COVID shutdowns, with reportedly one in ten households becoming vulnerable, as well as 13 million children and 5 million seniors being affected.
According to Google, searches for food banks, food stamps, and school lunch pickups were at the highest level during the pandemic they had ever been, while a slow recovery underway is indicated. Summer vacation brings on a similar challenge for families whose children rely heavily on their school program for daily meals and now have to track down alternative sources of food support.
The new website is straightforward and easy to use. You simply type in an address and the locator map will pull up sites that offer free food support in your area. Click on those to find the name, address, and phone number of the facility. It is recommended to call the venue before visiting to confirm availability and hours of operation.
Common sites listed include schools, churches, grocers, and traditional food pantries, among any other businesses or organizations participating in food programs. Google’s locator map currently displays over 90,000 locations across all 50 states, and more continue to be added. Data for the site was supplied by organizations like No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder, and the USDA.
The site also offers information about food assistance programs that apply to specific groups such as military, seniors, families, and children, with state guides and hotlines to call for questions or further assistance. In addition, you can find helpful resources on how to get involved if you are looking for ways to donate food, money, or time in your community.
To learn more about Google’s free food locator site, battling food insecurity, or connect with resources, read more here: https://mashable.com/article/google-search-food-support.