Finding Support for Food Purchases
Throughout the US, individuals and families experience food insecurity — not knowing where their next meal is coming from. People living under this level may often find it difficult to purchase food at retail prices. And finding the places where they can receive food support — either spending their benefits or accessing support from food banks can be hard, particularly for the working poor that may be subject to long commutes.
The statistics on hunger in America are startling:
- 14.5% of U.S. households experienced food insecurity in 2012, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- "Food insecurity" means that, at some point in the year, a household lacked access to enough nutritious food to support an "active, healthy life for all household members."
- The same USDA study showed that 10% of U.S. households with children under 18 experienced food insecurity that year. That's 3.9 MILLION U.S. households with hungry children.
- Children sustain the hardest impact of poverty and the difficult finding access to a balanced diet. Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor in the United States; they are 24 percent of the total population, but 36 percent of the poor population. In 2010, 16.4 million children, or 22.0 percent, were poor.
- A 2013 Pew Internet survey finds that even for people in households making less than $30,000, more than three-quarters have smartphones if they’re under the age of 30. “For a lot of those communities – low income particularly – [a smartphone] is their Internet. There is no laptop at home, no DSL,” says Noel Manyindo of the National Urban League.
What if we built an app to help lower income families find food banks and food pantries along their daily commute or in their community based on the GPS location of their smartphone?
An app would give a multiselect list of services - and then the phone would leverage the location services on the phone to show the user the closest relevant services for food banks, summer meal programs and other food resources for low income families.