The global COVID-19 pandemic made food insecurity rates skyrocket. California school closures threatened to devastate families with children reliant on daily school meals. In response, the USDA allowed school districts to serve all children in the community, no matter their school district, at varying times and locations. Great news! However, the websites and serving times changed rapidly, and there was no accurate, up-to-date, accessible resource for locating school meals in the Bay Area.
In March 2020, a team of college students mobilized to build a website, BayAreaCommunity.Org, with an accurate up-to-date list of food resources in about a week, and threw it on Google MyMaps. It got half a million views. School districts linked to BayAreaCommunity.Org. The team has partnered with the Stanford Pediatric Advocacy to get the information out to patients. To make our site more accessible, we built a mobile-friendly UI and now support five non-English languages (the 4 of the Bay Area’s most common + our founder speaks Malay!). 10 volunteers update our data bi-weekly, and we provide it through our UI and to No Kid Hungry’s Free Meal Texting Hotline. The team is expanding the website to provide other accurate, up-to-date social services data - outside of food resources.