United Way inspires students to make a difference

For Martin County residents struggling to put food on the table, a new resource is available – the Martin County Food Finder Map. Created by United Way of Martin County Students United Member and Clark Advanced Learning Center senior Evan McCarthy, the map indicates where free meals are available, including food pantries, soup kitchens, food for seniors and food for children when they are out of school. 

McCarthy was inspired to create the map through his experience with United Way of Martin County’s Students United program, which was designed to empower students to mobilize community resources and make a positive impact through the spirit of service.
Students visit local nonprofit agencies where they learn about the services they provide and the clients they serve. Students learned that over 11% of Martin County residents lack access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life.

While many food resources are available, finding them can be challenging as there wasn’t one comprehensive central resource that listed all free meal options. “When I saw that United Way of Palm Beach County had created a food finder map, I thought it would be a great resource to have something like this for our community,” McCarthy said. 
McCarthy combined data using Google Maps to create a map that can be easily shared and embedded on community partners’ websites in hopes that the nonprofit community will embrace the resource. 

In the future, he hopes student volunteers will update and expand the map to ensure that the listed resources remain up to date.
“We are fortunate to have many places people can turn for help here in Martin County. I hope to continue to build awareness of food insecurity, so people feel more empowered to reach out and get help.”

Applications for the next class of Students United members are open until September 23 for students in grades 9-11 who are Martin County residents. For more information or to apply, visit United Way of Martin County’s website at www.UnitedWayMartin.org/StudentsUnited.

To access the Food Finder Map, visit www.UnitedWayMartin.org/FoodMap.