Find Free Food in Your Area With This New Google Tool

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Screenshot: Emily Long

Food insecurity has long been a concern for many Americans—a problem exacerbated by the pandemic, which left nearly 1 in 4 households struggling to meet this basic need. There are resources out there for those who need additional support, and now, there’s a Google Map to help people find them.

If you or someone you know needs help putting food on the table, you can use Google’s new Find Food Support tool to search for food banks, food pantries, and school lunch programs in your neighborhood. All you have to do is enter your address and click “Find Support” to populate locations on the map. Tap the blue flags to pull up information about the food bank or school program, including the address, contact information, and operating days and hours.

Note that the Google tool simply aggregates information on more than 90,000 programs, with data provided by Foodfinder, No Kid Hungry, and the USDA. That means some information on the map may be incomplete or out of date. Even if hours are listed, you should call ahead to confirm.

In addition to the map, Find Food Support links out to other resources—including hotlines and benefit programs—for older Americans, families, military members and others impacted by food insecurity.

Another type of local food resource is a community fridge, or “freedge.” These are communal, neighborhood-based refrigerators maintained by volunteer organizers. Unlike food banks and pantries, which often stock a lot of non-perishables in large quantities, freedges are filled with donated leftovers and perishable items (like produce) that would otherwise go to waste.

Folks experiencing food insecurity can access these community fridges for free. There are a handful of maps and resources that track community fridge locations. And if you have the means to donate or start a fridge, we have a guide for doing just that.