Capital Area Food Bank Unlocks its Hunger Heat Map for Public Use

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The Capital Area Food Bank announced today that it will make public its proprietary Hunger Heat Map – touted by the Washington Post as “the technology that could revolutionize the war on hunger.”

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The Washington metro area’s window into the community’s hunger problem was just opened much wider.

The Capital Area Food Bank announced today that it will make public its proprietary Hunger Heat Map – touted by the Washington Post as “the technology that could revolutionize the war on hunger.”

“We knew we needed it for our own work, but when we realized how powerful it was in breaking down the problem, we realized we had to share it immediately,” said Nancy E. Roman, the CAFB’s President and CEO.

The region’s largest hunger organization spent two years developing the map technology and the data collection system that would pollinate it. After using the map for six months to guide progams and initiatives, the food bank decided to share it with partners and the public.

Roman said the food bank has had access to much of the data under the map for years, but stated that “the gap analysis and visualization is eye opening.”

The Hunger Heat Map is an interactive digital map of the CAFB’s entire service area – the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland – broken down by color-coded census tracts that correspond to food insecurity rates. Because the map tracks both hunger needs based on poverty as well as hunger work of the region’s 470 partners, it allows for gap analysis that shows most of the hunger work ahead being in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia.

Members of the public who use the map will soon be able to zero-in on the food insecurity data that pertains to the neighborhood they live in, giving a clear picture of what hunger looks like in their local communities.

The CAFB used the Hunger Heat Map to determine a location for the launch of its first-ever mobile feeding bus, which provides free, healthy lunches to a total of about 300 children per weekday during the summer months. The children served live in poverty along the Route One Corridor in Virginia’s Prince William County. These meals are of vital importance during summer recess because many low-income children rely on lunches provided by schools throughout the academic year.

This public rollout of the Hunger Heat Map comes at a critical time for the CAFB, when the food insecurity rate among children is the highest in the nation and more people are seeking emergency food assistance than ever before during the organization’s 35 year history.

To navigate the hunger heat map, visit http://www.capitalareafoodbank.org and click on the homepage banner. There, anyone who logs on can take a deep dive into the Washington metro area’s food insecurity data.

The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease and obesity. By partnering with nearly 470 community organizations in DC, Maryland and Virginia, as well as delivering food directly into hard to reach areas, the CAFB is helping 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food. That’s 12 percent of our region’s mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, and grandparents. To learn more, visit: http://www.capitalareafoodbank.org, or find the Capital Area Food Bank on Facebook at facebook.com/ CapitalAreaFoodBank, and Twitter at @foodbankmetrodc.

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Dylan Menguy
Capital Area Food Bank
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Capital Area Food Bank
since: 09/2011
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