Sunday, September 18, New York, NY – Today at the UN Social Good Summit, Not Impossible Labs announced its latest project, Hunger: Not Impossible (HNI), leveraging mobile technology to provide healthy, ready-to-eat meals to homeless or food-insecure youth and veterans. Currently in pilot phase, the long term vision for HNI is to provide an efficient, zero-infrastructure, plug-and-play service for school systems and NGO’s with existing hunger or food scarcity programs.
As with all Not Impossible projects, HNI stemmed from a problem or observation the team considered absurd - in this case, that 50-60 percent of homeless youth and vets have cell phones, but do not have access to regular meals. Armed with that knowledge, Not Impossible created a text and app-based solution to augment existing offerings like soup kitchens and food banks. Working through partner non-profits, hungry youth and vets opt-in to receive twice-daily notifications asking whether they would like to order a meal; once they say yes, they are given location and healthy food options and can pick up their ready-to-eat meal shortly thereafter.
“Hunger: Not Impossible is a simple solution to a very complex problem. We leverage the technology that homeless youth and vets are already using, namely cell phones - and the nonprofits with which they are already engaging - to provide them with healthy, ready-to-eat meals,” said Mick Ebeling, CEO and Founder of Not Impossible. “We hope this solution will be an efficient, cost-effective way for school systems, NGOs and even quick service restaurants to get healthy food to the people in need who they already serve.”
The three-week pilot program ran in collaboration with Safe Place for Youth, a nonprofit serving homeless youth in Venice Beach, where Not Impossible is based, along with local Subway restaurants. Over three weeks, Hunger: Not Impossible served 261 meals to 51 young people.
“While it's a dream for SPY to be open 24/7, we're only able to provides food to our young people three days a week, leaving four straight days where our clients have to find food elsewhere. Hunger: Not Impossible's mission to provide meals when we're not open is already making an incredibly huge difference in their days and lives,” said Michelle DiBattiste, Operations and Volunteer Manager at Safe Place for Youth. “By satisfying that initial survival instinct of finding food, Hunger: Not Impossible provides the necessary space for personal growth, self actualization and finding stability.”
Using data gleaned from the pilot program, Not Impossible will begin developing an SMS- and app-based mobile program that can be used by schools, NGO’s and other organizations. HNI is expected to expand to several US cities in 2017.
About Not Impossible:
Launched in 2009, Not Impossible Labs makes the impossible possible by creating accessible technology-based solutions primarily in the areas of health, mobility and communication. Not Impossible’s first project The Eyewriter is an open source, low-cost, DIY device that enable individuals with paralysis to communicate and create using only the movement of their eyes. Time Magazine named the Eyewriter one of the "Top 50 Inventions of 2010" and the device is now part of MoMA's permanent collection. Project Daniel inspired the first 3D-printed prosthetic arm for those impacted by war in South Sudan. The Don’s Voice project resulted in a digital communications interface for ALS patient Don Moir, allowing him to audibly communicate. Both projects were awarded SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Learn more at www.notimpossible.com.
About Safe Place for Youth:
Safe Place for Youth’s mission is to inspire, nurture and empower the resilient human spirit of homeless youth by providing immediate and lasting solutions, one young person at a time. Safe Place for Youth prioritizes low barriers for entry, harm-reduction, a trauma-informed approach, and the provision of a safe, supportive environment. Learn more at www.safeplaceforyouth.org.