Knoxville student develops software for food pantry

Knoxville student develops software for food pantry

Matthew Dixson, age 18, created software to save food-delivery volunteers from tedious route-planning with maps.

By Laura Derr

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 9, 2018) -- Matthew Dixson, a senior at Christian Academy of Knoxville, was recognized Sunday, May 6, for his contributions to the FISH ministry at First Farragut United Methodist Church.

Dixson developed a software program to help map routes for volunteers who deliver food to Knox County neighbors in need.

Dixson approached the FISH Ministry Team at First Farragut in October 2016 about partnering on his school's Capstone Project. Every senior at Christian Academy is required to complete a project builds on the student’s passion. Dixson's passion is computer programming. He offered to help develop a software program to map routes for FISH drivers.

Over the next 18 months, Dixson worked with the FISH Team to design a software program to capture all the information drivers need to make deliveries and create a report specific to each driver. He tailored the report to include special requests for non-food items and needs. He linked all that information to an export file so that volunteers can send data to Second Harvest and other funding organizations. He created a map linked to GPS that showed the best route for each driver’s deliveries.

First Farragut UMC is a member of the West Knox FISH Pantry, the only delivery pantry in Knox County. First Farragut partners with 17 churches in Knox County to stock this pantry and deliver groceries to families in need who have no transportation. The FISH ministry has been active almost 50 years in Knox County. Member churches take phone calls and deliver groceries once a month.

In April 2018, using Dixson's software, the First Farragut FISH Team delivered to 44 households. The team was able to provide each driver with a delivery report and a GPS map showing the most efficient delivery route.

Dixson will attend the University of Tennessee this fall in the computer science program.


Laura Derr is a member at First United Methodist Church of Farragut.