Chicago area adds emergency food services to meet demand during crisis
A number of emergency food-related services have come on line in the Chicago-area in the past two months as the COVID-19 crisis continues to strain community resources.
That’s according to a new interactive map from NowPow, detailing access to food pantries, meal delivery and other food-related services.
NowPow found that nearly half of Chicago’s food-related services shut down when the crisis started. By Friday, 73 percent of services available before the pandemic were back up and running. Several emergency food-related services have also sprung up, bringing the total food-related services to 104 percent of the pre-pandemic baseline.
“Food insecurity rates will continue to grow with prolonged economic strain from COVID-19, so ongoing tracking of these and other vital community assets is critical,” said Dr. Stacy Lindau, founder and chief innovation officer at NowPow.
NowPow unveiled similar maps for New York City and Long Island. The maps date back to March 11, when the virus was declared a pandemic, and allow users to look by ZIP code on how resource availability has changed.
The map focuses on nine food and nutrition resources, including access to food pantries, group meals, meal delivery, soup kitchens or free meals, groceries, SNAP, WIC, baby formula and baby food, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
It’s the first in a planned series of interactive maps showing how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected community resource availability.
NowPow plans to add additional data to the maps in the future, which a spokeswoman said could include housing and financial stability data. The organization will be in contact with partners in other categories to be aware of other emergency services that have occurred during the pandemic.
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