Google has launched a new website aimed at providing a “one-stop shop” for those experiencing food poverty. The “Find Food Support” website features a food finder tool provided by Google Maps that users may use to find their local food bank, food pantry, or school lunch program pickup place.
Google is collaborating with non-profit organisations such as No Kid Hungry and FoodFinder, as well as the US Department of Agriculture, to aggregate 90,000 free food assistance sites throughout all 50 states – with more locations on the way.
The new site is the work of Google’s newly created Food for Good team, which was formerly known as Project Delta when it was based at Alphabet’s X moonshot division. The goal of Project Delta is to “build a smarter food system,” which involves standardised data to increase communication amongst food distributors and reduce food waste.
The US Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as a lack of continuous access to enough food for an active, healthy life. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the number of individuals facing food insecurity increased, impacting an estimated 45 million people, or one in every seven Americans, including 15 million children. According to Google, searches for “food bank near me,” “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” “food stamps application,” and “school lunch pick up” hit new highs in 2020.
In addition to the new food locator service, Google is releasing five new YouTube films targeted at demystifying food hardship. The website will also contain connections to food assistance hotlines, state-by-state benefit guidelines, and information tailored to specific groups such as elderly, families with children, and military families. Visitors can also learn how they can help people in need by donating food, time, and money.