Nearly one in seven Americans don’t know where their next meal will come from. This represents around 45 million people in 2020, including 15 million children. This is an increase of almost 30% compared to 2019.
This is why Google has launched a new site “Find food support” to help fight hunger across the country by connecting people to their nearest food bank. The website serves over 2,800 locations across the state.
“The predicted increase was nearly 23% in food insecurity in Wake County.” said Dr Christopher Paul, a food safety research professor at the Central University of North Carolina.
Paul conducted a study in the fall of 2020. He found that 20% of the state’s residents are seeking food assistance. According to Feeding America, 1.4 million people in North Carolina are food insecure, including 400,000 children.
A Google spokesperson said pantry searches have also increased around the world.
Julie Tarallo McAlister, spokesperson for communications and public affairs for Google, said research is underway for “things like SNAP benefits, pantries and food banks near me. So we know that it’s a problem and people are looking for help. “
Using Find Food Support, families can search for pantries and resources nearby by zip code.
“It will appear in various places in the area that you can search. This map locator tool also provides information such as hours of operation and a phone number for organizations and hours of operation and when they are distributed. “said McAlister. .
McAlister says summer is the hungriest time of year for kids. Google’s new website also tracks school lunch programs.
“Millions of children no longer have access to the free school meals they receive throughout the school year. This website also offers school meal pickup programs that will run throughout the summer so families can still have access to free meals for their children during the summer months. “McAlister said.
Paul says a website is great for families with internet access, but the digital divide remains a huge divide.
“Unfortunately, technological tools do not solve the problem and, in reality, that implies the importance of community programs and of each of us as individuals, caring for our neighbors and our communities,” said Paul.
For those without internet access, experts suggest connecting with a local nonprofit organization for food aid.