Vivery Delivers First-of-a-Kind Digital Tools for Food Banks and Pantries to Equalize Access to Food
Vivery, from the Thierer Family Foundation, redefines the future of food access with accurate food finder maps, easy-to-use digital tools that improve community interactions, and valuable insights to better meet people’s needs.
Chicago, Oct. 25, 2022 — The Thierer Family Foundation, the organization helping nonprofits increase their impact through technology, announced today that the Vivery platform is now available to all U.S. food banks and pantries to help people in their communities easily find and access the right food, social programs, and services nearby in the ongoing battle against food insecurity.
According to Feeding America, the number of people seeking food assistance from food pantries was 35 million pre-pandemic. That number drastically spiked to 60 million at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Between the lasting effects of the pandemic, inflation, and rising food prices, the latest figure is 53 million, which is still a shocking 51% higher than pre-pandemic levels.
“No one at risk of food insecurity should ever have to skip a meal, let alone experience the additional stress of navigating how, when, and where they might be able to receive food for themselves and their families,” said Nasrin Thierer, Founder of Thierer Family Foundation. “We created Vivery to provide food banks and pantries with a simple way to modernize access to food. That way, they can better connect with people and help them easily find the right food resources nearby.”
Vivery was developed in 2020 by the Thierer Family Foundation in collaboration with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to ensure they were meeting the nuanced challenges of the food assistance ecosystem. The unique partnership of a tech-focused foundation and an innovative food bank yielded a solution that is best-in-class and ready to address the broader food insecurity needs across the country.
Most people searching for food assistance start online. Yet food banks and pantries often lack the resources to sufficiently create and maintain an accurate online presence, or use outdated search tools limited to a simple zip code or address search. Current search tools may point users to the nearest food provider, but not necessarily to the community program or resource that best fits their needs.
Since the Food Depository replaced its previous tool with Vivery more than one year ago, it has seen an increase in engagement, as well as:
- Improved food finder map: A cleaner, more readable map optimized for accessibility and use on mobile devices.
- Powerful new search filters: People searching for food can easily identify the programs, services and locations that meet their needs.
- Spanish language search: Individuals who reach the Vivery tool via Spanish-language search or advertising will have a Spanish-language experience.
- Improved analytics: Ability to gather more insights on people using the solution to drive program changes that better meet their needs.
“By centering on the end user experience and having an intentional focus on analytics, we can be more responsive to the needs of our community,” said Andy Seikel, Head of Technology and Transformation for the Food Depository. “After seeing the improvements first-hand, Vivery is that rare combination of using tech for good that is well-positioned to help food banks and pantries really move the needle to end hunger nationwide.”
For example, while some individuals could be seeking a hot meal for the evening, others might be seeking groceries.
Families with young children could specifically be looking for a food distribution center that also offers diapers.
A person who primarily speaks Spanish might be looking for a food pantry with staff and volunteers who are fluent in Spanish.
Or an individual with food allergies could look for a pantry that can accommodate their dietary restrictions.
“Vivery addresses all of these needs. Vivery was built on the vision to help people thrive and live their best lives,” said Thierer. “People seeking food assistance have unique needs and should be supported as such. With our digital tools for food banks and pantries, people can now narrow or expand their search with several filters beyond just location, and food resources can interact more effectively with their communities through text messaging and a better online presence.”
With Vivery, any U.S. food bank or pantry can enjoy a powerful, user-friendly, and fully supported toolset to equalize access to food. Vivery makes it easier to connect with the people they serve and keep them informed about their services. As part of the platform, food resources can:
- Create an online presence with an automatically generated website that has the latest information, such as operating hours, food and social programs offered, languages spoken, photographs, helpful tips for guests, and more. No technical experience is needed.
- Send text messages – at no cost to pantries – about last minute schedule changes, special shipments, or events. This dramatically cuts down the time staff spend fielding calls to communicate these common updates.
- Use real data and get valuable end user insights to better understand gaps and opportunities for food resource programs and services.
About Thierer Family Foundation
The Thierer Family Foundation was founded by Nasrin and Mark Thierer in December 2015, with a mission to increase the impact of nonprofits by helping them leverage technology to be more effective, efficient, and sustainable. The foundation strategically funds innovative technology projects to modernize access to food and significantly change the way an organization can serve their target audience. By investing in technology, the Thierer Family Foundation can greatly impact an organization’s reach, help organizations deliver on their mission, and ultimately serve more people. Their hope is that this approach will pave the way for other funders to see the value of investing in technology within the nonprofit sector. Head to https://thiererfamilyfoundation.org/ to learn more.