ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County’s food bank and food rescue program, Food Gatherers, has launched a new website that features a searchable “find food” tool.
The site redesign was made possible by a grant from the UPS Foundation.
“We are so grateful to the UPS Foundation for this grant, which will allow us to better support our neighbors facing food insecurity,” Food Gatherers president and CEO Eileen Spring said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, more people than ever before are accessing emergency food assistance, many for the first time in their lives.
“When someone is looking for food, the need is often time-sensitive -- they need food now. The new website and enhanced find food tool will better support the increased number of people searching for resources. And, because it is online, they can search 24/7.”
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Food Gatherers’ network of partner programs reported a 30-300% increased need for food assistance.
Food Gatherers communications coordinator Lauren Grossman also said there was an exponential increase in visits to the food bank.
“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,” Grossman said in a statement. “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.”
The new tool allows users to enter their address to search for nearby food pantries, meal distribution sites, home delivery and food stamp assistance options. The new site can also translate into Arabic, Chinese or Spanish.
The find food tool and website were designed by Ann Arbor-based creative marketing agency R.J. Conlin Marketing and Design.
“We’ve been honored to help Food Gatherers develop their new website,” R.J. Conlin founder and president Bob Conlin said in a statement. “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 experiencing food insecurity are encouraged to call Food Gatherers at 734-761-2796 or use the find food tool if they need assistance.
“If you don’t have access to a computer, aren’t comfortable navigating online, or prefer to talk to a person, please give us a call and our staff will be happy to help,” Grossman said in a statement.
For more information, visit www.foodgatherers.org.