Enabling Home Delivery for Food Pantries – The BringFood Story
Case Study Bringfood Initiative
This article was originally published by Applied Geographics Inc. (AppGeo), a company acquired by The Sanborn Map Company Inc in September 2022.
According to the Boston Globe, as the pandemic first hit in March, The Greater Boston Food Bank experienced the highest monthly demand for food in it’s 40-year history. Coronavirus has created an unprecedented spike for at-home delivery services. Many nonprofits are delivering groceries themselves for the very first time — pivoting away from a brick and mortar model. All across the country, food pantries are literally bringing in the National Guard to help them meet the demand for food delivery. As hotspots spread across the United States, AppGeo President Rich Grady saw a way we could help.
Thus, at AppGeo, we created the Bringfood— a powerful, solution-driven `last-mile” routing tool directed at food pantries and other non-profits organizations in the US involved in food distribution to people in need. Designed as a web application to fit their exact needs, food pantries can quickly move to a delivery model using Bringfood.
This completely free multi-vehicle routing tool is super easy and accessible to use. All the user needs to do is import a spreadsheet of addresses, and using AppGeo’s powerful clustering algorithm and Google routing technology, Bringfood calculates the optimal path for a certain number of vehicles to reach all their desired destinations. Using Bringfood, a small nonprofit organization can have the same routing power as sophisticated logistics companies.
Bringfood can free up volunteer time, making deliveries more efficient, and helping as well as free up time for those creating the routes and filling the vehicles. The simple process of uploading the addresses, geocoding them using Google Maps powerful Geocoding API, and allowing the user to edit any addresses that may appear incorrect allows lots of flexibility in how this input data can be formatted. From there, Google’s Routing APIs provide the efficient routing between the waypoints, and the delivery driver can also visually inspect all the stops along a given route or even hop into a street view for verification of what the home is going to look like.
Bringfood is now being used by over 100 food pantries and local governments across the United States. We believe by helping these organizations save valuable time, we’re able to multiply the impact of their volunteers and help them switch to a delivery model much more seamlessly, even with limited resources.
Above you can see how the program has grown since we launched just back in June of 2020. Google has provided free credits to the users of Bringfood, keeping the application running free of charge.
Learn more: Watch our lightning talk from the 2020 Geo for Good Summit
We encourage you to check out the Bringfood.care website, and if there are communities in your local area that you think could benefit from this application feel free to forward it along and we look forward to signing them up.