Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local News


Software to track food insecurity helping to solve the issue

Posted at 6:01 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 10:46:59-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's no secret that the need for food pantries has grown exponentially, especially with inflation hitting all time highs.

But tracking the need can be hard, especially for smaller food pantries.

It's one of the reasons Faith Hope and Love Community (FHL), an Indianapolis non-profit, is working to launch a new software.

SALTview Food Access Management Software will work to address food insecurity by using interactive technology.

Screenshot 2024-02-26 175855.png

"If we don't keep track of who we're serving then it's hard for us to understand how we can serve them more sustainably," Merlin Gonzales the president and CEO of FHL said.

Gonzales hopes the software will give food pantries a system to keep track of the people they encounter.

They say it will allow them to get to the root cause of an issue. Rather than offer an emergency fix to a problem, they will be able to see why a problem exists and track the data.

"We can actually look at the demographics and really identify what's working, what's not working and how we can address based on the analysis, based on the data driven reporting," Gonzales said.

It comes at a time where Indiana is seeing a large number of people who are food insecure.

Indy Hunger Network shows 732,800 Hoosiers face hunger.

They also state 242,000 people need food assistance in Marion County alone.

Screen Shot 2024-02-26 at 4.58.12 PM.png

In a media release sent to WRTV FHL states:

Smaller food pantries often lack access to advanced technology resources, relying heavily on volunteers. The challenge becomes evident during the training and onboarding of food pantry household recipients. The absence of a centralized food pantry intake and management system results in inefficient and manual processes for inputting critical data.

This manual approach not only leads to inefficiencies but also hampers the reporting process, creating less accurate and meaningful data for donors and impeding efforts to attract external support. The need for a data-driven solution is crucial to provide timely and precise information available in a centralized system for food pantry organizers.

Food pantries like New Direction Church are partnering with FHL to assess the needs of people they serve.

"Sometimes we have in our mind a certain demographic or a certain household income but we see people of all walks of life who have been hit during these economic hard times," Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. said.

The church's food pantry serves thousands of families each year and has been a staple on the East side for a decade.

"People want security and they need food," Sullivan said.

The software is launching Thursday with a goal of streamlining data to better serve the community.