The Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) began their partnership with Redfin Solutions in 2011. Since then, we have redesigned their website meals4kids.org and updated it to Drupal 8. When CNOP needed an app that could integrate with Drupal, they knew who to ask.
The new app, called SummerEats, needed to provide mobile and kid-friendly information to children and teens in Massachusetts about the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which is run by CNOP, Project Bread, and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The SFSP provides children and teens in Massachusetts with a list of locations where they can eat free and nutritious meals during the summer.
Redfin used React Native to create SummerEats, which has two framework options: CLI and Expo. CLI is for people with a native app building background and Expo is for people with a development background. We chose to use React Native and the Expo framework because it is the easiest starting point for programmers to learn how to build an app. Since this was our first experience with React Native or with app building, we took notes about what we learned, and later turned that into a blog series about integrating pre-existing Drupal content with a React Native app.
We built the SummerEats app with two pages. The first explains what the app is for: “SummerEats shows nearby sites where Massachusetts kids and teens can receive free meals during the summer. Anyone 18 and under can simply show up and eat, without any registration or prior sign-up. Meals are provided through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). SFSP is a federally-funded program and equal opportunity provider.” The second page consists of a search feature and a list of information pulled from meals4kids.org. The user puts in their location or a nearby address, and the page provides addresses and availability of nearby sites where the user can find a free and nutritious meal. Below each location is a Directions button that brings the user from the SummerEats app to a map with directions to the respective location.
Redfin created SummerEats for iOS and Android to account for the vast majority of mobile traffic in New England. The content already exists in the Drupal website, but since users searching for a meal are searching the web on mobile devices more than desktop, it was important to meet them where they would be. SummerEats allows users to find the nearest free meal, get directions to the location, and use the directions along the way with just one device.
With the help of Redfin Solutions, the Child Nutrition Outreach Program used the SummerEats app to expand the reach of their Food Service Program and increase the number of Massachusetts children they could feed.