What is it? A community app can take many forms, but at its most basic it is a computer program that creates easier access to community information. The advantage of putting this information in an app is that it makes the information much more accessible to people with mobile phones or the like. The form is very much up in the air but an app that can tell you when the next bus is coming or connects people to available services can be very helpful. These apps can be especially helpful for informing new residents of what the community holds or broadcasting what events the community will be hosting. It is important to note that this app does not have to be downloadable, like the stereotypical app, but can rather be accessible by simply texting a given number. This allows people without smart phones to take advantage of the program.
How has it been used? In Philadelphia, PA they have developed a way to help SNAP participants make their money go farther. When people send a text message to the number they had set up, they would receive all kinds of information. First, they are told where to find the closest farmer’s market that accepts SNAP is. Then they are told the two closest stores that accept SNAP. Lastly, they give tips on how to best spend their SNAP money on healthy, local food. This provides the dual service of connecting people who may struggle to find and afford fresh food with access and helps support the local food economy. (Source: PhillySNAP)