Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger (TBNEH) releases update to its Hunger Gap Map, which provides an interactive picture of the emergency food supply and demand by zip code in a three-county area – Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. This free tool is located on the TBNEH website and is used by thousands of agencies, businesses, and individuals around the bay area to determine areas of greatest need and where to locate services.
“The Hunger Gap Map is an important tool and we see it as a major part of the programmatic solution to hunger,” said Caitlyn Peacock, Executive Director. “The purpose of this unique map is to translate food insecurity and direct service provider services into a single map that can be used for decision making and program development.”
The latest map update includes new supply and demand analysis, as well as new layers like food insecurity rates (by census tract), missing meals with expanded demographic population information, and ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed).
The map was originally developed seven years ago by a TBNEH work team, in response to an agency and community need of wanting to know the supply and demand of hunger. To complete the analysis, multiple reports were used, including Feeding America’s Missing Meal Analysis, which analyzes several variables including the number of food-insecure persons and the cost of food and meals; and Neilsen Companies’ In-store scanning and Homescan data, which includes the cost of food index. The supply and demand was determined by investigating charitable response, or the total number of meals distributed from the emergency food system (including mobile pantries, senior meals, weekend bags for children, food pantries, and hot meal providers), and by tracking the raw number of meals needed.
TBNEH’s Hunger Gap Map differs from other hunger maps because it uses an ArcGIS mapping program to show the number of missing meals more specifically, by zip code, rather than by county. Users can customize the map’s data to obtain individualized information they can use in their work, research, or grant applications.
The Map shows a snapshot of the meal gap by color coding areas green that have a good balance of supply and demand, and areas red that don’t. This colorful visual, along with the statistics, suggest opportunities for further program development. In addition, the map has other important layers that show food insecurity rates, SNAP Retail locations, meal provider locations, demographic information, and more. The map also includes a layer showing bus routes and stops. Users may request a detailed summary report of a specific zip code(s) or layer(s) by visiting www.NetworktoEndHunger.org and submitting the request through the contact form.
Agencies, academia, businesses, and individuals can access the user-friendly TBNEH Hunger Gap Map at www.NetworktoEndHunger.org and use the information to help identify what specific programs would be needed to help close the hunger gap in specific areas. This map is an educational tool that can help providers gather the information needed to help expand and/or develop new programs to address need. The St. Petersburg Free Clinic also used the map to create new routes for their mobile pantry. Organizations, like Meals On Wheels and St. Petersburg Free Clinic, have used the map to expand their services, while increasing the amount of food distributed in high-need areas. Community members looking for food or community resources are encouraged to use the Hunger Gap Map to locate services.
“Meals On Wheels of Tampa uses the Hunger Map as a vital strategic tool in determining expansion plans and community needs assessments. In addition to a planning guide, the Hunger Map serves as an important resource to help tell the story to funders of the depth and width of food needs in our community,” Cindy Vann, Director of Major Gifts, Meals On Wheels of Tampa.
To learn more or explore the Hunger Gap Map, please visit www.NetworktoEndHunger.org. You can also join the conversation by joining TBNEH at its monthly community meeting, held on the second Thursday of every month at 9:30AM at the United Way building (5201 W. Kennedy Blvd., Ste 600, Tampa, FL, 33609.
About Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger:
Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger is committed to ending hunger in Tampa Bay by bringing people together to find solutions that eliminate barriers, increase access and knowledge, and expand the amount of nutritious food available. TBNEH has over 350 members and serves a tri-county area, Hillsborough, Pasco, and PInellas counties. TBNEH is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency and relies on its community for support. www.NetworktoEndHunger.org