Fighting Hunger With Knowledge

– I like math. I like modeling. I like computers. But what I want to do is be able to use it to help people and so
it's really interesting or kind of exciting that
we can use these tools in helping in this humanitarian cause. – [Narrator] Although the food bank of central and eastern North Carolina is the largest in the state, they still can't reach everyone. – I don't think people
realize the magnitude of food insecurity. We believe there are about 680,000 people that are food insecure at some point during the month. We can't get enough food
in to solve the problem. – [Narrator] Enter Dr. Ivy and Dr. Davis. They're engineers who realized analytics could revolutionize
how food banks operate. They reached out to see
how they could help. – The food bank gave us tons of data, and you know initially we
were like data, data, data. But data can be like a
blessing and a curse. – [Narrator] They mined
through millions of records and translated the numbers
into useful information. – Some of the models
that we have developed try to predict the amount of food that might be donated. The other type of models
also try to estimate how many people might be in need of food. We try to pull in data about unemployment, poverty, to see if we
can get a better estimate of the true need in the
counties that they serve. – [Narrator] That information
gives the food bank an efficient way to predict changes in supply and demand so they can reduce food waste while maximizing the number of people they can reach. – What they have done is given us why we should do certain things and how we should do them, but instead of saying, "Well that just feels right," we're able to say, "Well
the data tells us." It's very cool stuff. – We're making an impact. And we have the potential
to do so much more. The work we do is easily applicable to other food banks. And I think that we'll
be able to figure out how to, you know, reduce
the number of families who have hunger need.

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