Food is integral to our health and well-being. It plays a vital role in nourishing us, connecting with others, and in our celebrations – particularly during the holidays. However, with the rising cost of food and economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic many in our community are struggling with hunger and food insecurity.
The United Way of Bruce Grey and their associated food programs work tirelessly to address the increased need in our community and provide fresh and healthy food to an ever-growing number of people in need. They could see the demand was rising dramatically during the pandemic and wanted to find a way to better understand and illustrate the escalating issue of food insecurity in Bruce Grey.
To bring their foodbank and meal programs together, and unlock the power of data, the United Way partnered with local start-up company NPX to build the Food Bruce Grey App – a data collection platform that allows food programs to capture and share their data and to show their impact in the community.
“We’re so thrilled with our new Food App,” said Francesca Dobbyn, Executive Director of the United Way of Bruce Grey. “The app has illustrated what the food insecurity issues are in our community. Data is a very important part of the food story because it tells our donors, members of our community, and decision-makers what’s happening and how important it is to solve these issues.”
The app allows foodbanks and meal programs to enter data, download reports, and create dashboards that visualize their impact and food insecurity trends in their communities. Members of the public can also view dashboards that illustrate how foodbanks and meal programs are used and how the needs are growing.
“Our team at NPX is always looking for ways to support and collaborate with community organizations,” said Bharath Nangia, Chief Innovation Catalyst at NPX. “When United Way presented us with the opportunity to help, our team of data scientists and app developers were excited put their skills to use to create this innovative platform.”
Local foodbanks, meal programs, and community gardens have already begun entering data into the app. NPX, Bruce Power, and the Community Foundation Grey Bruce provided funding for food scales to enable each program to weigh produce and more accurately capture the amount of food being collected and distributed. The app will capture data on food that is collected and distributed, and also include information on demographics of community members who are using foodbanks and meal programs, while tracking volunteer efforts in the region.
“Bruce Power is thrilled to be a supporter of this initiative,” said James Scongack, Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs & Operational Services. “We are committed to supporting our community this holiday season through our Be a Light: Beating COVID Together campaign, while helping organizations such as the United Way respond to the increased needs of those in our communities.”
The Food Bruce Grey App officially launched this week and members of the public can view the public dashboards by visiting www.foodbrucegrey.com. If you are an organization that runs a food program, you can learn more and register for the platform by contacting email@example.com.