When the Covid-19 pandemic led to stay-at-home orders and school closures in March 2020, the Impact Lab focused on assisting Californians whose lives had been disrupted. We had two projects to support efforts to ensure that they had sufficient food.
Bay Area Community
A large proportion of K-12 students in Bay Area schools receive free or low-cost school meals. When schools closed, school districts organized sites where parents could pick up prepared meals for their kids, but the locations and times for these sites changed frequently. For this project, the team quickly created a cell-phone compatible, interactive, searchable web map with up-to-date information for over 1,100 school meal sites in the Bay Area, and the team kept the data current for the 18 months that the sites were open.
- Stanford students map free meals for Bay Area schoolchildren. Stanford News, 2020-03-26.
- Students from this project created the group unBox. This summary explains how the project evolved beyond school meals and how its volunteers are still contributing.
Early in the pandemic, the governor of California formed a task force to ensure that residents had sufficient food. The task force supported the state's food banks through the use of emergency funds to purchase food and through logistical and volunteer support from the state National Guard. The task force asked the Data Lab to provide data and analysis needed to support their decision making. This project used timely data from several sources together with modeling to provide the task force with the requested data and analysis at both the state and county level. The project produced raw data for the state to ingest into its internal systems, and it produced a website with the data for state and local officials and food banks. The website automatically updated with the frequent release of new data.