Nicole Minni, an associate policy scientist and Geographic Information Systems and Graphics specialist in the Institute for Public Administration at UD’s Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration, has helped the coalition by providing a GIS map of food distribution in Sussex County. The food distribution locations on the map are updated on a weekly basis, which allows the organization to see if they are meeting needs, running out of food at certain locations or if they need to move to a different area based on shifting needs.
The data on the map shows the locations of available food resources, such as food pantries, mobile pantries, mobile groceries, as well as places that provide ready to eat meals and what time those meals are served.
“The map is interactive and allows for users to see the locations and say, ‘This is where we have a family outreach center, and these are the days of operation,’” said Minni. “If you click on the points, you can get more information.”
While initially starting in the Cape Henlopen School District, the mapping project has expanded to cover the entire state and is being used by the state Department of Agriculture for tracking and disseminating information to the public on food distribution resources. Minni has mapped the Department of Education student meal locations, where students are able to get free meals, and expanded the Census information to cover the whole state.
Minni said she is glad to be able to contribute to a great, collaborative effort such as CCC4COVID.
“To me, the people who are on the ground doing the work are the heroes. It’s amazing the work that they’re doing and I’m just happy to be able to put a little visual to it so it can help them reach more people,” said Minni.
Anna Moshier is the manager of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UD in Kent and Sussex Counties. Together with Osher coworker Derek Cole, she has helped connect OLLI’s active membership with opportunities to help through CCC4COVID, like sewing masks the Osher sewing group made early on. She said that it has been great to connect with other organizations and see how everyone involved with the initiative is willing to help those in the community.
“I think that by our combined, shared resources in the nonprofit world, we really just want to do good for people,” said Moshier. “We don’t want to sit around and say ‘it’s somebody else’s job to do.’ It’s our job to help others.”
Thom Thunstrom, a business analyst for UD’s Small Business Development Center, has also been active with CCC4COVID, seeking opportunities for the group to support the local economy.
As owner of not just one but two small businesses in Lewes, Mason epitomizes that segment of the community, and Moshier gave her credit for the success of CCC4COVID by getting the right people together. Now, like the rest of those in the organization, Moshier is hopeful that their success can be mirrored in other parts of the state.
“Our group can only cover so much of a geographic area, so we’re trying to share what we’ve learned with other communities,” said Moshier. “We definitely are willing to share what we’ve learned, and we want to be a resource for other communities who are interested in starting an organization like this.”
Originally published in UDaily. Article by Adam Thomas Photos courtesy of Danielle Swallow and Anna Moshier