Google has launched a new suite of resources for people struggling with food insecurity across the U.S. and it’s called Find Food Support.
You can access it on a mobile device or directly on its website findfoodsupport.withgoogle.com. Google says “We’ve created a locator tool that you can use to find your nearest food bank, food pantry or school lunch program pickup site. To use the tool, simply enter an address into the search bar and information for the sites closest to you will be displayed.” I tested it and it while the information on food banks and soup kitchens is there – it can be a bit confusing as it is powered by Google Maps so it also lists every restaurant, store, business hotel, doctors offices and more.
The only clue to finding the food support locations is that the teardrop is slightly bigger, blue and does not have an icon included. I think the designers at Google can certainly improve on the UX. Getting past that glitch the site is loaded with terrific resources for seniors, military families, families with children, links to state benefit websites and some terrific community stories on videos. Google explains how the Covid-19 pandemic fueled a worsening food crisis in the U.S., which led to some 45 million people — or 1 in 7 Americans — experiencing food insecurity at some point during 2020. That figure was up 30% over 2019, according to Google. And of those 45 million people, 15 million were children. Google worked with organizations including No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to capture 90,000 places offering free food support across all 50 U.S. states.
Find Food Support also displays the location’s address, directions, phone number and other details including the source of the information and which days it’s open or business hours. Another cool feature is for those not faced with food insecurity Find Food Support offers information on how to donate money, time or food to those in need. Google says it will continue to add more food support locations to the food locator tool going forward, beyond the 90,000 it offers today.