man in a mask holding out two plastic bags full of food

More Apps to Address Food Insecurity in 2021

The United Nations reports that in 2019, close to 750 million (or nearly 10 percent of the world) were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity. And now with COVID-19, the United Nations World Food Programme predicts that those experiencing hunger will in fact double.

Here at TechSoup, we've continued digging deeper in the topic to learn how we can use tech to address food insecurity, leading us to host our third Public Good App House demo event on the topic. If you didn't see our first two food app demo events, you can watch our November recap here and our February recap here.

drawing of a woman and a man standing on a cloud and interacting with a box of food

On March 3, 2021, we were joined by five inspiring teams using tech to address this important issue.

  • HelpKitchen from Twilio
  • Hunger: Not Impossible from Not Impossible Labs
  • Community Compass from Indy Hunger Network
  • FoodSpace from FoodSpace Technology
  • Rolling Harvest from MilkCrate

Below is a breakdown of the demos.

HelpKitchen from Twilio

Developed and supported by Twilio, HelpKitchen is an app that helps match food-insecure communities with partner restaurants for a free meal. Restaurants simply log in to their HelpKitchen platform and can choose to serve those who need it. The individuals simply receive a text message to pick up the free meal. HelpKitchen pays the restaurant for the meal, keeping their business operating. Although they’re quickly expanding, the platform is currently operating in San Francisco, Detroit, Tacoma, and Aurora. Check out the demo below by Jason Dielman from Twilio:

Hunger: Not Impossible from Impossible Labs

We were next joined by Adam Dole from Hunger: Not Impossible, a simple, text-based service that connects kids and families in need with prepaid, to-go meals from local restaurants. After signing up for the program, individuals simply text "Hungry" to the designated number. From there, the platform will provide choices of nearby participating restaurants. The order is then placed and can be picked up — for free. Check out the replay below.

Community Compass from Indy Hunger Network

Kate Howe joined us from Indy Hunger Network to give us a demonstration of Community Compass, an app that connects people with food assistance in Indianapolis. Users can find information for free meal locations, free groceries, and hot meal sites, as well as WIC and SNAP programs. Users with a smartphone can download the app from Apple or Google Play. For those without a smartphone, there is a text messaging option.

FoodSpace from FoodSpace Technology

Next we had Ayo Oshinaike provide a demo of FoodSpace, an app that allows you to quickly save the recipes you want, then generate shopping lists based on the recipes. Not only can you view nutrition facts, barcodes, and general item descriptions, you can even order the products from within the app. Check out the demo below.

Rolling Harvest from MilkCrate

Morgan Berman joined us from MilkCrate to give us a preview of Rolling Harvest, a free pickup, delivery, and distribution service for donated surplus fresh food that connects local farmers with neighbors in need. Dedicated volunteers help with daily pickup and delivery schedules from 43 farms and food producers. They then assist with weekly distributions to more than 60 hunger relief sites. Check out the replay:

More to Come

This is only the beginning of discovering how tech can help us address food insecurity, among other issues. We are planning many more upcoming demo events this year. If you know of any apps that should be showcased, let us know in the TechSoup Community Forums.


Additional Resources

More from Public Good App House:

Top photo: Shutterstock