DemLabs blog

The Trump administration is planning to cut the Food Stamp program. This would eliminate SNAP benefits for 3.1 million individuals and take free school meals away from the children in those families. The 60 day comment period ends on Sept 23rd, 2019. Thousands of comments have to be submitted to the USDA to oppose taking food away from working families, children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Innovative technology can quickly identify affected communities, educate them on how they will be hurt and guide them to submit comments and contact their elected officials.f

This campaign was launched by volunteers in two days using these five innovative apps:
1. Locate the communities that will be most impacted - Community Analyst
2. Explain what's at stake and encourage comment submissions  - ArcGIS & StoryMaps
3. Collect crowdsourced videos opposing these proposed cuts - Flipgrid
4. Contact decision makers to protest with one-click calling, emails and social media - NewMode

1. Locate

Community Analyst provides access to thousands of demographic, Census, health, crime, and business variables for better decision making. We used ArcGIS and Community Analyst to identify and map communities most dependent on Food Stamps as well as congressional districts and their elected officials. (An earlier bulletin that explains how to use Community Analyst).
Access this map here.

2. Explain

We used a StoryMap to explain the proposed cuts to the Food Stamps program (SNAP) and what citizens can do to speak up against it. This interactive story includes links for more information, maps and videos. (An earlier bulletin on how to design a StoryMap).

Access and share this StoryMap with this link.

3. Collect videos

We created a link with FlipGrid (a free app) that explains the proposed cuts in Food Stamps and asks viewers to share their comments in the form of a 30 second video. The link includes an explanation, a short video with a prompt and links to the USDA site for the proposed rule and online form where comments can be submitted. (Details on how to use FlipGrid from an earlierbulletin)

Video recordings can be made from a phone or laptop. Canvassers can also collect video comments from the public using their phones. The videos are collected immediately and can be used in social media campaigns and on web sites to build public support against the proposed cuts.

Make a recording for this campaign with this FlipGrid link.

4. Empower supporters to be heard
The StoryMap offers links for supporters to make their voice heard.
- Submit comments to the Federal Register.
- Share stories with Full Frontal by Samantha Bee.
- Communicate direct through NewMode. It channels supporters’ voices to decision-makers through phone calls, emails, tweets and letters.

Rules that hurt the public and environment are being proposed with little time for public comments. Use the best tools available to find, inform and mobilize those who will be impacted. Learn more about these tools here.

Co-Founder, DemLabs

Please share this article. Democracy Labs is a SF-based, hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation for progressives campaigns and advocacy groups. Donate here to support our work.

Subscribe to DemLabs Bulletin

Share this Newsletter:

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook

DemLabs applies innovative technology and storytelling tools in service of democratic values. It lowers the barrier of funding for worthy candidates and non-profits by applying existing free/affordable solutions.