Grantee Blog 2020

Mapping the Food Gap in Elizabeth, NJ

Where can you find healthy, affordable food in the City of Elizabeth when processed foods are so much cheaper and readily available? Just as importantly, how can you get to those locations? These are questions Elizabeth residents struggling with food insecurity ask themselves every day, and they need the answers to those questions now more than ever.

To address this community need our Shaping Elizabeth partners Lifelong Elizabeth and Rutgers NJTIP (NJ Travel Independence Program) developed a Food Provider and Transportation Map. The map shows locations of food providers overlaid on top of public transportation routes so community members can see where they can get fresh food year round, and the best way to travel there. We’re happy to say this map has successfully been distributed in print at our Shaping Elizabeth Partner sites and digitally on Shaping Elizabeth partner websites and social media platforms, and because of this initial success we’re working to make it even more accessible to our Elizabeth residents!

First, we’re translating the map into Spanish and Haitian Creole so all members of our ethnically diverse community can access this information, no matter what their first language is.

Second, once these translations are completed they will be formatted in a way Policy Map can use to create a mobile friendly, interactive online mapping tool marking health, affordable produce locations for residents struggling with food insecurity. The finished map will include the locations of 24 food providers, 40 SNAP grocery retail locations, farmers markets, and 46 summer feeding sites and their hours of operation. Residents will be able to use it to easily determine how to get to their chosen food provider from their location. Best of all, because this data will be available online it can easily be updated to ensure everyone has the most accurate information available!

Throughout this blog we’ll be sharing our progress towards these goals, so stay tuned to learn all the ups (and downs) on our journey towards creating an online food mapping tool!

About the Grantee

The Gateway Family YMCA

The Gateway Family YMCA (TGFY) is a community-based organization rooted in Christian principles and committed to building healthy lives through programs that strengthen spirits, minds, and bodies for people of all ages, religions, and cultures. A leader in the Shaping Elizabeth coalition, TGFY is committed towards supporting the health, nutrition, and physical activity of all Elizabeth residents.