The food band and food rescue program in Washtenaw County, Food Gatherers, has launched a new website and an updated searchable food finder tool on April 23. The UPS Foundation provided the grant to fund the website.
Throughout the first few months of the pandemic, Food Gatherers’ network of partner programs, which includes more than 170 local agencies and programs providing free groceries and meals to the community, reported a 30-300% increase in people seeking assistance. There was also an exponential increase in visits to Food Gatherers’ website according to Food Gatherers communications coordinator Lauren Grossman.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the number of callers and web-visitors looking for information on emergency food assistance skyrocketed. Today, those numbers remain elevated,” said Grossman. The former find food map and list weren’t always intuitive, making it difficult for some users to easily access food assistance. “We wanted to make the new find food tool as user-friendly as possible and accessible on a computer, phone, or tablet.”
Visitors to Food Gatherers’ new website can search for food pantries and meal distributions using their address. The tool also includes options to filter by date, time, city, and other important options such as home delivery or SNAP (food stamp) assistance. Food distribution information will appear on a map, list, or calendar depending on your needs. The new website also includes a “Select Language” option to translate the website from English to Arabic, Chinese, or Spanish.
The website and find food tool were designed by R.J. Conlin Marketing and Design, a creative marketing agency based in Ann Arbor.
“We’ve been honored to help Food Gatherers develop their new website,” said Bob Conlin, R.J. Conlin founder, and president. “We’re proud to serve an organization that our neighbors in need can look to, especially during these tough times. The Food Gatherers crew has been a joy to work with. We look forward to continuing to support them as they strive to end hunger in our community.”
People in need of food can use the find food tool online or call Food Gatherers if they need assistance. Those who don’t have access to a computer or aren’t comfortable navigating online and prefer talking to a person should call Food Gatherers for additional assistance.
1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor. 734-761-2796. foodgatherers.org.