Jack Griffin was just a sophomore in high school when he realized he wanted to help families dealing with food insecurity. He couldn’t find a food pantry when he searched online, so he knew that plenty of other people were also experiencing the same problem. This is where his journey to start FoodFinder began.
Jack knew he wanted to help these families access local food pantries more easily, but he lacked experience in web creation and data mining. During high school, Jack began doing all kinds of research to create a database of local food pantries in his hometown just outside of Atlanta. He researched how many people search for food pantries online and what devices they were using. With the help of some fundraising, he was able to launch the website in 2014.
Once FoodFinder became a 501(c)(3) organization, Jack knew that he wanted to grow the database to include more food pantries. Just a year later in December 2015, FoodFinder became the first platform to have 1,000 food pantry locations listed.
Knowing the Arby’s Foundation had a history of supporting hungry children, he decided to pitch his idea. The Arby’s Foundation was able to give FoodFinder their first ever grant, which paved the way for a mobile app to be created and continue to build a database of food resources.
“Simply put, FoodFinder wouldn’t exist today without the Arby’s Foundation. The grant we obtained in 2016 was the very first grant FoodFinder ever received and came just two years after our food pantry locator launched,” Jack shared. “That grant is the sole reason FoodFinder has a mobile app connecting food insecure families to free meals as we speak. The fact that we’ve served 1.5 million people with our platform during the pandemic and inflation does not happen without the remarkable support of the Arby’s Foundation.”
“At the Arby’s Foundation, we often talk about the importance of investing in great leaders and organizations that will drive an outsized return in the community through our grant dollars,” said Stuart Brown, Executive Director of the Foundation. “In Jack Griffin and FoodFinder, we found both. We know that Jack’s mission for FoodFinder is poised to drive results well beyond our investment.”
FoodFinder continued to grow throughout Jack’s college years, but nothing compares to the numbers Jack saw during the pandemic. FoodFinder went from serving 250,000 people before 2020, to now 1.4 million. Their team has grown, and they’ve been able to share their database with partners like Google.
Despite the immense growth, Jack still has big goals for the future. He wants FoodFinder to be the first-ever guide to every food pantry in America, on every teacher or social worker’s desk as a resource and continue to be a force for good – all with one common goal at the forefront: to proactively address and prevent food insecurity in America.
What started out as just a dream in high school has now become a reality and a full-time job for Jack. He wakes up every day thinking about what else FoodFinder can do to help move the needle on hunger.