How technological innovations help fight hunger

What digital innovations and new technologies are being used to tackle hunger in America? originally appeared on Quora: the place to acquire and share knowledge, enabling people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Reply by Jack Griffin, Founder / CEO of FoodFinder, Hon Quora:

Wouldn’t it be great if the latest and greatest technologies developed had more to do with helping the poor and feeding the hungry rather than corporate NFTs or plots of land in the metaverse? Well, if so, there may be something that is increasingly difficult to find these days: cause for optimism!

Every day, new innovations are occurring in the nonprofit sector and are being delivered by social enterprises who know we can significantly improve the lives of millions of people with technology built for good. This is especially true in the fight against hunger, a movement that has undergone (and surpassed) its fair share of enormous challenges since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are just a few of the newest and most impactful technologies developed as we speak to feed our neighbors in need:

  1. Help fight food waste: MEDIA Database and MealConnect. As two of the most extensive and available food rescue apps developed in the last decade, both Feeding America’s MEANS database and MealConnect tool are saving millions of pounds of food that would otherwise be thrown away. It is worth remembering how the United States actually produces more than enough food to feed everyone in the country and then some. However, research from top universities, nonprofits, and industry leaders shows that about a third of all food grown in the United States goes to waste. When we still have more than 40 million Americans lacking food security, food rescue solutions like MEANS and MealConnect connect growers and businesses with excess food to food banks and food pantries that can repurpose those meals for families in need. .
  2. Help add dignity to food pantries lines: Order in advance. OrderAhead is an extremely recent innovation also born from the Feeding America food bank network which asks a very simple question: whether people can choose the food products they want from online grocery stores through tools like Instacart, why can’t people do that? for food pantries? OrderAhead helps potential food pantry visitors select the groceries and basic necessities they need most, so they’re ready for them as soon as they arrive, saving time and dramatically reducing the chance of food going to waste. With the vast majority of hungry people in America also having access to the internet via a mobile device, this new wave of innovation helps fight the stigma of poverty in America and adds more dignity to a process that resembles regular shopping. rather than receiving a dispensation.
  3. Helping people find where to get food aid: FoodFinder. If a starving family doesn’t know where to get help with free food or food in the first place, how should they get it? This is where FoodFinder comes in as the largest source of information on when, where and how to get help from over 45,000 food pantries and free food distribution sites spread across 50 states. Born in 2014 from an idea of ​​a high school student at the time, FoodFinder has been used by nearly 2 million people nationwide.

As someone who has worked to alleviate hunger for more than a third of my life, the creativity and compassion shown by the teams leading all of the above innovations and countless others fill me with hope. It is undeniable that we are facing enormous difficulties. However, I am deeply inspired by how young and longtime fighters alike are nowhere near giving up, and I hope you feel the same!

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to acquire and share knowledge, enabling people to learn from others and better understand the world.

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