Food insecurity is a persistent and challenging issue in communities across our nation. In Washington, D.C., about 80 percent of the more than 92,000 public school students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals during the school year. When school is out of session during the summer, these meals are not available to students. And while the DC Free Summer Meals program offers no-cost food to students throughout the city, families have often had difficulty finding the locations where meals are available.
The DC Summer Food Finder is designed to address this important community need. As a part of AIR’s Socially Responsible Analytics Initiative, we partnered with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to build a website that helps students and families find and access free meals and healthy food across the city.
Through the website, students, their families, and community partners—including school administrators and teachers, librarians, and others—can simply enter an address and find nearby options for no-cost meals, food pantries, grocery stores, farmers markets, and corner stores with healthy food. This project makes use of AIR’s expertise in data visualization to help address a large-scale social issue.
Information for the website came from DCPS, DC Greens, DC Central Kitchen, and the websites of other organizations, such as the DC Food Policy Council and the Capital Area Food Bank.