- Google launched a free food aid site aimed at tackling food insecurity, according to a corporate blog post Tuesday.
- The Find Food Support site includes a Google Maps locator to find the nearest food bank, pantry, or school lunch program pickup site. The site includes Resources like organizations that nurture communities and videos on the impact of food insecurity, as well as a SNAP benefits finder that provides information on national and state eligibility requirements.
- In the blog, Google said searches for “food bank near me,” “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” “requesting food stamps” and “school lunch pickup” have reached record levels in the past year.
Google’s new food access resources are another example of the leading tech company connecting its Maps app, search function, and other proprietary tools to the rapidly evolving food industry.
While developing the new site, Google said it has worked with No Kid Hungry, FoodFinder and the USDA to include 90,000 free food support locations across the United States, noting that more will be added.
“Food insecurity has impacted people from all walks of life – especially since the start of the pandemic,” Emily Ma, head of Google’s Food for Good initiative, wrote in the blog, noting that children who previously relied on free school lunch programs as well as blacks, Latinos, Americans with disabilities and military families have recently experienced high food insecurity.
Find Food Support aims to help people find community organizations and services like food banks, pantries, and school lunch pickup sites. In addition to the SNAP map and search features, people can find resources for seniors, families with children, and military families, as well as a tool that directs people to employee benefit sites. the state.
In addition, the site seeks to provide resources for people who wish to help and learn more. In a series of videos on the site, Google shed light on what five local organizations are doing to tackle food insecurity. There is also information on how consumers can donate food, time and money.
Google also markets its technological tools to major food retailers. This year, it partnered with Target and the Albertons to offer weekly discounts through Google Pay. The company is working with Albertsons on online ordering tools through Google Search and Google Maps, and on a predictive list builder. Last month, Hy-Vee announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Google Cloud for a range of digital services that include integrating the grocer’s virtual dietitian services and helping shoppers schedule their vaccine appointments online.
Google’s efforts come at a time when the grocery industry is struggling to tackle food insecurity, turning to technologies such as drop-offs to fill last mile gaps or expanding l ” access to the use of SNAP benefits for online orders. USDA’s SNAP online pilot has accelerated its approval of grocers under the online program after a slow ramp-up during the pandemic last year.
In announcing the new tools, Google noted Feeding America’s food access estimates. The anti-hunger organization predicted earlier this year that 42 million people, including 13 million children, are at risk of food insecurity in 2021.