21NTC Session

Foodbanks in Focus: How technology builds capacity


Before COVID-19 more than 37 million Americans, including 11 million children, faced hunger every day. Now add staggering unemployment claims, school closings, and self-quarantine mandates. Today, more than ever, people are relying on community food programs. The challenge many programs face is dwindling food donations and shrinking volunteer numbers.

GIS is a critical tool that food banks, food pantries, and communities can use to offer critical support across America.  In this session, we will cover some of the key workflows for foodbanks including vehicle routing, volunteer management, and reporting and tracking donations. These processes can insure equitable outcomes for food distribution. We will look to understand how technology can make processes more democratic, transparent, and efficient.

Session Type

60 minute session

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand common foodbank workflows
  • Learn strategies for using tech to solve foodbank challenges
  • Identify equitable food distribution and reporting mechanisms

Target Audience

All staff working on food secuirty


AnalyticsData VizDigital InclusionVolunteers


Rebecca Lehman

Nonprofit Program


Rebecca finds innovative ways to leverage technology in addressing social and environmental problems. She works with nonprofits and local governments to create sustainable solutions. She has a master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Daniel Taitelbaum

Asst. Director of Business and Data Analytics

The Greater Boston Food Bank

Daniel Taitelbaum has been with The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) since 2006. GBFB began using Esri’s GIS software in 2011 and started using it more strategically under Daniel’s leadership soon thereafter, developing a strategy to identify “underserved” communities for GBFB to target its distribution and capacity building efforts. Daniel’s focus on data-driven solutions became all the more critical for GBFB during the pandemic. In Massachusetts, food insecurity was estimated to have increased by 59%, the highest increase in the nation. To understand the impact of this increase, changes within the food assistance network, and to optimize GBFB’s capacity to reach those in need, GBFB created the Business and Data Analytics team under Daniel’s leadership.

Jake Erlich

Director of Analytics

Capital Area Food Bank

Jake Erlich is the Director of Analytics at the Capitol Area Food Bank (CAFB) in Washington D.C. A firm believer in the power of data Jake seeks to inform the important work being conducted by food banks by making our work more efficient, more informative and more strategic. As the Director of Analytics, Jake works with every department at CAFB from Operations to Programming and Development to ensure they not only understand their own impact and effectiveness, but that they also place data at the center of their decision-making processes. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Jake has been working to refine the food bank’s understanding of the impact COVID-19 has on food insecurity so that new program and county-level meal distribution goals can be determined. This work will enable CAFB to intentionally update our organizational strategic plans to meet the needs of the changing food insecurity landscape.



March 23, 2021


1:00pm – 2:00pm