Food resources chatbot and food donations platform launched
Mayor Kim Janey and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) today announced the launch of the food resources SMS chatbot and the online food donations platform. Both initiatives respond to goals included in Boston's Food Access Agenda, aiming to strengthen the citywide food access network by efficiently connecting existing programs and resources to better serve the community.
“Ensuring every Boston resident has access to nutritious meals is essential to building an equitable City,” said Mayor Kim Janey. “I’m excited to introduce this creative option to reduce food insecurity. This tech tool enables residents to connect with or provide services when it’s most convenient for them.”
The food resources SMS chabot was created by the Mayor’s Office of Food Access, together with the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) following the success of the food delivery chatbot launched during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The goal of this new tool is to offer a centralized source of food resources information that is available 24/7, in eight different languages, and doesn’t require internet connectivity. To access this tool in English, residents can text the word ‘FOOD’ to 617-579-8238. To access the other seven languages in which the tool is available residents can text:
- ‘COMIDA’ for Spanish
- ‘MANJE’ for Haitian Creole
- ‘THỨC ĂN’ for Vietnamese
- ‘食物’ for Simplified Chinese
- ‘KOMIDA’ for Cape Verdean Creole
- ‘ALIMENTO’ for Portuguese
- For Arabic - ‘طعام’
“By reducing digital and language barriers, the Office of Food Access’ goal is to create a more equitable food system where everyone is welcome and can be connected with the resources they need,” said Catalina López-Ospina, Mayor’s Office of Food Access Director. “In the first iteration of the chatbot we received very positive feedback from residents and we hope this tool helps residents navigate all the resources that are available in the City.”
The online food donations platform was created by the Office of Food Access to encourage connections between those that have food available for donation and those that need it or can distribute it, and to avoid food waste. Organizations and individuals interested in joining this network must create an account at boston.gov/food-donations. Once an organization or individual creates an account, it can then post food donations and mark them as claimed. To claim food donations organizations or individuals must contact the ‘donor’ and arrange the logistics for pick up. The donation interchange must be completely handled by the donor and receiver. OFA is unable to provide assistance with logistics. The food donations that are posted in the platform are approved by the Office of Food Access to avoid misuse of the platform.
For more information about food resources available, visit here.ABOUT THE MAYOR'S OFFICE OF FOOD ACCESS
The Mayor’s Office of Food Access (OFA) strives to give all residents of Boston access to nutritious, affordable, culturally-connected food. Keeping the diversity of Boston’s population at heart, OFA’s goal is to create a more food secure City with a vibrant, inclusive food culture.