Google has launched a new website to help people struggling with food insecurity. The new “Find Food Support” site is a locator tool that will help needy people to find the “nearest food bank, food pantry, or school lunch program pickup site” in their community. It uses Google Maps to show you all nearby free food locations. Users have to simply enter an address in the search bar. If available, Google will also provide a phone number so you can call the location to confirm if they are open.
The new search tool from Google aggregates 90,000 locations with free food support across 50 US states. The company says it is working with non-profits like No Kid Hungry and FoodFinder, as well as the US Department of Agriculture, to add more locations in the future.
Google makes finding free food support easier with its new tool
The food crisis in the US has worsened since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. In a blog post earlier this week, Emily Ma, head of Food for Good, noted that nearly 45 million people in the country were “without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable food” in 2020. Around 15 million of those were children.
To put that into perspective, one out of every seven Americans is struggling with food insecurity. The figures for last year, as estimated by Feeding America, also mark a 30 percent rise from 2019.
Google says needy people have been looking for help online, including on Google Search. According to the company, searches for terms like “food bank near me”, “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)”, “food stamps application” and “school lunch pick up” reached record highs over the past year. It is now developing a dedicated all-in-one portal where people can quickly find free food locations in their community.
The Find Food Support site also provides links to additional food support resources in case there’s no available location nearby. Users can find links to food support hotlines, state-wise benefit sites, and “information for specific communities, such as seniors, families and children, and military families.”
Furthermore, there is information about how you can donate food as well as other essentials to support people in need. Last but not least, Google is trying to help tackle food insecurity with a quick-search button for SNAP Benefits. This button will let you quickly find national and state eligibility requirements for SNAP. You will also find information about how to apply. For the uninitiated, SNAP provides food assistance to eligible individuals and families.