More than 1 million people are food insecure, lacking reliable access to nutritious food, in southeast Texas. Through its network of more than 1,500 community partners, the Houston Food Bank leads the fight against hunger by providing food assistance across its 18-county coverage area in southeast Texas. In an effort to reach even more individuals, Houston Food Bank and Pariveda Solutions are leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) by creating a digital app that makes meals even more accessible.

With the help of its community partners, from soup kitchen to meal sites to shelters, Houston Food Bank helps to feed 800,000 individuals each year. In times of disaster, such as Hurricane Harvey, the need increases, and Houston Food Bank is called upon to aid the community. In the year following Hurricane Harvey, they distributed 122 million nutritious meals (source: Houston Food Bank).

Now, a little more than one year since the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Houston Food Bank is working to leverage technology to make a greater impact, not only during a storm but also for parents who are struggling to put meals on the table.

“One in six children goes hungry in Texas, and one critical component to solving this issue is awareness of available resources,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “There are a great deal of services and information available, but it can often be confusing and overwhelm we have worked to create a mobile and web application, or ‘app’, with Pariveda Solutions leveraging AWS, designed to streamline information in a user-friendly format to help people get the assistance that they need, especially in times of disaster.”

Pariveda Solutions utilized their 11-week internship program, focused on making an impact to the community, to put together a mobile and web application that allows for people to more easily find access to food banks close to them. The application is a first because it integrates with the database housed on AWS and reaches new communities.

“Working with Houston Food Bank gave us the opportunity to impact the Houston community at a large scale,” said Allison Esenkova, Houston Vice President for Pariveda Solutions. “It provided a platform for our interns to learn the world of consulting while giving back in a way that impacts the Houston community to reduce hunger.”

This new application leverages the technologies of AWS. Houston Food Bank has decided to migrate their platforms to the AWS stack and this new pantry application aligns and integrates easily. This mobile application allows for a map with pantry locations for ease of discovery, Spanish language support and push notifications that will work by geography. In addition, it provides general information about the food bank as well as user analytics to continue to improve.

“We are delighted to see Amazon Web Services technology impact the community in a positive way,” said Terry Wise, Vice President of Worldwide Partner Ecosystems, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Houston Food Bank and APN Premier Partner Pariveda Solutions leveraged AWS to create a solution that is designed have a lasting impact on the people of Houston.”