Solving Cincinnati's Current Hunger Crisis By The Numbers

May 4, 2020

Food for the hungry is now within walking distance for hundreds more Cincinnatians after a team of problem solvers used data analytics to strategically place food distribution centers closer to them.

As part of The Kroger Co.'s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative, the city of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Public Schools and 84.51° harvested valuable information about food insecurity and then put it to use.

84.51° Data Scientist Charles Hoffman explains he pulled in all of the census demographic data, overlaid that with the largest concentrations of childhood poverty and then compared locations of food distribution centers to see where the gaps where.

"Some of the primary ones were (The Villages at) Roll Hill (formerly Fay Apartments), in need of a location closer to them and the corridor between Price Hill and the Westwood area," he says.

Hoffman says what made the project easier was software from ESRI, free to anyone using it for anything COVID-19 related.

Hoffman explains how he developed the map and how it works.

Both Hoffman and UC Assistant Professor Dr. Carley Riley of Cincinnati Children's say this mathematical model can work in any scenario. "As we started to connect with the families in our network and we're hearing from them, not only was food a concern but so is access to other basics such as hygiene and sanitation," says Riley.

Hoffman says the mapping is also being used for the refugee and immigrant populations to get them the COVID-19 information they need.

Other partners include All Children Thrive Learning Network and the Health Network by Cincinnati Children's.