September 24, 2016


Here is a list of our challenges provided by our hackathon sponsors. If you are having a hard time coming up with a solution, consider addressing one of these.


Hackathon Challenge Statement on Summer Food Service Program

Our challenge would be finding a solution to accurately counting the number of young people served by the summer food service program. This is our program that allows organizations (libraries, red centers, schools, churches etc) who have sites where kids under 18 can go to play and participate in enrichment activities to be reimbursed by USDA for meals served.

As of now we track the number of meals served as each summer site is reimbursed for each meal served. But we do not have a reliable number that shows how many individual kids are actually served by the program. Any solution that is put forth would likely have to involve anonymity because we need to be sensitive to PII and also to the appearance or activity of "government tracking." Further, some sites require enrollment in the program whereas at the other sites kids can show up for breakfast or lunch without any sort of registration so registration data wouldn't be reliable even if we could use it.

Submitted by: Jessica Milteer


Hackathon Challenge Statement on Food Deserts

Individuals in low income urban and rural communities have experienced the ongoing challenge of accessing fresh produce, meat, poultry, dairy, whole grains and other healthy and affordable food. Certain areas of the country have been defined as food deserts due to the lack of access to healthy food.  Barriers include the limited presence of stores, farmers markets or other venues that sell healthy food; limited transportation options; limited financial resources with which to purchase healthy foods; and/or a lack of educational information about health, healthy eating strategies and healthy recipes. Unhealthy food choices can lead to a variety of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. 

With an estimated total of 23.5 million Americans living in areas that are considered food deserts, determine a way to decrease the barriers for these families.

Submitted by: Elanor Starmer

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Hackathon Challenge Statement on Channels of Communication

What channels of communication currently exist between community members who are food insecure and service agencies/departments, and providers? How can we best utilize these communication channels to get critical information out to the community or organizations directly serving the community in order to increase knowledge on resources and services available?   For example, what initiatives or projects are taking place at the federal, state, and local levels that can be communicated to community based organizations or direct service organizations in order to increase knowledge and understanding of resources available.   

Submitted by: Adriana Mora

Hackathon Challenge Statement on Medi-Cal, CalFresh and WIC Eligible Mothers

How many eligible mothers are enrolled in Medi-Cal, CalFresh and WIC and actually utilize the services? How can we use data and technology to increase enrollment and utilization of these critical services?

Submitted by: Adriana Mora

Hackathon Challenge Statement on Breastfeeding Education

Breastfeeding is important to maternal health and children’s health. How many agencies/providers/ employers and/or schools provide education and support for young mothers in order to encourage them to breast feed? Do we have data that can help us identify partners that can support this practice among young mothers?

Submitted by: Adriana Mora

Hackathon Challenge Statement on Obesity and Diet-Related Chronic Disease

Champions for Change is a state educational campaign supported by USDA that addresses obesity and diet-related chronic disease through education.  How can we use technology to expand this campaign’s impact by increasing the reach of community members that learn about nutrition and healthy habits beyond the participating community health workers and local health departments? 

Submitted by: Adriana Mora


Hackathon Challenge Statement on Food Waste

Globally, 30–40% of food produced for consumption is wasted every year. Wasted food represents a massive social, environmental, and economic loss.

Socially, 800 million people are undernourished globally, and in the U.S. one in seven people are food insecure. Environmentally, food loss and waste is a massive resource drain, using 21% of U.S. fresh water and generating about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, if it were measured as a country, food waste would rank third in the world for harmful emissions. Economically, food loss and waste globally costs up to $940 billion per year.

When we dramatically reduce food waste, we also address hunger, capture more economic opportunity, and protect our planet.

While food waste is an important global issue, we want to be mindful of the differences in the reasons why waste occurs. In developed countries, most food is wasted at the consumer and retail level, from people throwing away excess food or grocery stores rejecting “imperfect” looking produce. In developing countries, food is often lost during harvest, or on the journey from farm to market. As our world becomes more globally connected, our food supply chains are more integrated, and therefore a systems level approach is all the more important for reducing waste.

Submitted by:  Laura Kahn


Hackathon Challenge Statement on Connecting Food Donations and Volunteers

Develop an application that will connect food donation sites with volunteers to pick up the food and with the recipient pantry. 

Submitted by: Eric Handler


Hackathon Challenge Statement on improving the health of communities through local partnerships

The National Health Foundation (NHF) is an awardee of the BUILD Health Challenge, a funding collaborative addressing social determinants of health to improve the health of communities through local partnerships. We would like to have a mobile app built to support the implementation of BUILD Healthy South LA, a collaborative that seeks to: 1) infuse healthier food options into the neighborhood; and 2) increase the availability of outdoor physical activity programs though community partnerships and improved park safety. Through a voucher program, we are partnering with local health centers and markets to direct residents to markets with fresh produce and physical activities within the BUILD Health zone. The app would allow us to track participation by entering a voucher code for healthy food purchases and physical activity classes, track an individual’s BMI (pre/post), track individual’s steps (pedometer), and map out partner agencies for the user (health centers, hospitals, partner markets with healthy food options, parks, and local physical activity programs).

Submitted by: Kellie Hawkins