SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — The City of San Jose has launched a new online map compiling more than 400 locations where food is distributed to needy families in Santa Clara County enduring hardships during the coronavirus pandemic.
The map, at SiliconValleyStrong.org, is updated using data extracted from local government agencies, school districts, non-profit partners, business associations and media reports. Further data enrichment is provided by “staff cold calling of locations to verify info, as time allows,” according to Joel Clark, information systems analyst with the City of San Jose.
The map aims to be a comprehensive, one-stop-shop where users can easily navigate the maze of food providers to find updated hours, meal types, phone numbers, special instructions, and directions.
The Google Foundation also provided help with analytics and forecasting, crunching public data, including coronavirus test result statistics, senior center closures, and unemployment figures, according to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
“Being able to use models that helps us predict and anticipate that need, both the scale and the location of that need is critical for us, as we’re working with more than 400 sites throughout the county to ensure the need is met,” said Liccardo.
The map is part of a region wide effort to scale up food distribution, as demand rise sharply. Currently, 400,000 meals are served daily in Santa Clara County, according to Liccardo.
Leslie Bacho, Second Harvest of Silicon Valley CEO, has noticed a sharp uptick in the number of incoming calls for food help. Second Harvest plans to open an additional six sites next week.
“We have a food connection hotline that usually gets 180 calls a day. Right now, we’re getting more than a 1,000 calls a day. And most of those are from people who haven’t had to ask for help before, but have recently lost a job,” said Bacho.
At the food distribution site at San Jose High School Thursday morning, volunteers were busy packaging brown bag lunches for daily pickup.
Maria Figueiredo came to get five meals, each bag containing a small pizza, apple, milk, carrots, egg muffin sandwich, orange and juice. Figueiredo said she could not afford to buy all the food on her fixed income from social security.
“Thank you very much for helping us. God bless all of them,” said Figueiredo.