WASHINGTON - While epidemiologists have led a worldwide effort to map COVID-19 cases, it is essential to map the resources available in local communities.
As a response, the "COVID-19 Community Resource Map" was launched by GroundBreakers, a global network of local leaders, to visualize locations of testing sites, meal relief, unemployment support, homeless shelters, and community networks.
"Whether you are an elementary school student in need of meal relief or a recently unemployed adult, we want to increase awareness of the resources that are available," said Rara Reines, co-founder of GroundBreakers, in conversation with Vital Voices CEO Alyse Nelson in a podcast feature of the resource map.
Starting as a grassroots effort in Washington, D.C. the resource map is now being used and shared by thousands of community leaders nationwide in their response efforts to COVID-19. GroundBreakers has mobilized a collective group of volunteers and key institutional partners to join forces in increasing visibility of resources for those most in need. From food banks to local governments to national nonprofits, GroundBreakers continues to collaborate with a variety of partners to update the real-time mapping.
"This map is a critical resource to us due to the breadth and depth of available COVID-19 resources," said Bree Gaddy, a Bay Area-based community organizer collecting data from communities nationwide. "There is the potential for government and social service organizations to continue using the live map to service resource gaps," stated Gaddy.
Within the first three weeks of the effort, volunteers mapped more than 12,000 resources in the U.S., which leads the world in confirmed cases. "A simple click on the Map's 'Find My Location' button directs users to the resources available in their communities," said Christopher Rosselot, a volunteer who joined shortly after his university classes moved online.
Volunteers for GroundBreakers are calling on community leaders to add their resources to the Map. "If you are aware of or leading Coronavirus response resources, please share that location so the effort can aid those in need," said Reines.
GroundBreakers is a global community of community leaders operating in 51 countries with an emphasis on local, grassroots efforts. GroundBreakers was founded by Sebastian De Beurs and Rara Reines in 2017.