211 Metro Chicago Partners with Vivery to Optimize Food Access

Vivery provides digital access to food program information to help 211 Metro Chicago better connect residents with available health and social service resources

 

Chicago, Ill. – Jan. 16, 2024 – 211 Metro Chicago, the free, 24/7/365 helpline that connects Cook County residents in need of assistance with essential health and social services support, has integrated Vivery technology into its system to provide more efficient access to food resources. Vivery is a technology solution built to help food banks and food pantries assist neighbors in finding available food and other resources nearby.

211 Metro Chicago is operated by United Way of Metro Chicago as part of a unique collaboration with the City of Chicago and Cook County, along with a vast network of health and social service organizations that includes the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Through their partnership, 211 Metro Chicago supports residents by directing them to more than 900 food programs across Chicago and suburban Cook County.

“Hunger in the community is a year-round issue, with one in five households in the Chicago Metropolitan area currently facing food insecurity,” said Amy Laboy, Vice President of Programs and Community Partnerships, Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Every day at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, we work to provide and connect our neighbors to quality, nutritious food through our partner network. The support we receive from 211 Metro Chicago and Vivery allows us to provide that service seamlessly, enabling community members to access food more quickly and easily while also gathering valuable insights to help improve our services.”

Leveraging this high-quality information on local food programs empowers 211 Metro Chicago to better connect residents with the critical resources they need to feed their families. 211 Metro Chicago continues to expand its reach and impact among those in need of critical services, such as food, secure housing, utility payment assistance and more.

“At 211 Metro Chicago, we recognize that the same individual seeking housing assistance can also be facing food insecurity, so we provide ‘a range of hope’ through a one-stop resource to meet residents where they are,” said Richard LaPratt, Executive Director of 211 Metro Chicago. “Food assistance is consistently one of the most requested categories among our community, yet information about food resources and programs is often outdated by weeks if not months. Vivery automatically updates our system every few hours, so our staff knows they are sharing the latest information on food resources. This collaboration further illustrates how our partnerships work toward removing barriers to basic needs for our neighbors.”

211 Metro Chicago partners with Vivery to leverage its charitable food data using an API integration that allows the organizations’ data systems to communicate and exchange data. Through this integration, 211 Metro Chicago staff no longer need to spend time reaching out to pantries independently, resulting in tremendous resource savings while also providing the most accurate information.

In almost one year since 211 Metro Chicago launched, the helpline has already fielded more than 105,000 requests. Since its deployment in August 2023, Vivery has helped 211 staff:

  • Field nearly 1,500 resident requests for food resources through the end of 2023

  • Create and maintain a database of more than 900 food assistance programs across Cook County

“While there are many food and social programs available, sadly individuals that need them still struggle to find them,” said Azita Habibi, Executive Director for Vivery Community. “Vivery was created to give underserved communities a modern and dignified way to easily find these available food resources. Our partnership with 211 Metro Chicago represents the ease at which Vivery can be integrated into other social services to ensure that everyone serving our neighbors will have real-time, accurate access to available food resources. In this way, we can truly democratize digital access to food.”

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About 211 Metro Chicago
211 Metro Chicago is a 24/7/365 helpline connecting Cook County residents to health and social service resources. 211 Metro Chicago is operated by United Way of Metro Chicago and launched with support from the City of Chicago, Cook County, philanthropic partners and the 211 Metro Chicago Advisory Committee composed of business, civic, charitable and social service organizations. United Way of Metro Chicago mobilizes private, philanthropic and public sector support to help individuals meet their basic needs and works to support equitable transformation in neighborhoods across the Chicago region. Visit 211MetroChicago.org to connect with these resources.

About Vivery
Vivery helps bridge the digital divide by connecting neighbors with resources to break the hunger cycle. By giving food banks and pantries the technology to create a digital presence, neighbors can search and find detailed and accurate pantry and program information online—and do this with dignity. We recently received a coveted Chicago Innovation Award, in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, for a highly innovative new tech solution driving social impact. Visit vivery.org to learn more.

About the Greater Chicago Food Depository
The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, believes a healthy community starts with food. The Food Depository is at the center of a network of 800 partner organizations and programs—food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile distributions and other partners—working to bring food and hope to our neighbors across Chicago and Cook County. The Food Depository addresses the root causes of hunger with job training, advocacy and other innovative solutions and is a proud member of Feeding America—the national network of food banks. Learn more at chicagosfoodbank.org


Media Contact
211 Metro Chicago
Pablo Rosero
PR@respublicagroup.com

Vivery from the Thierer Family Foundation
Andrea Oliveira
andrea@oliveirahousepr.com

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Man-Yee Lee
mlee@gcfd.org

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