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Food recovery platform adapts to satisfy quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is applying its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to deliver emergency food to those inside US impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here, CEO and Co-Founder Leah Lizarondo gives an overview of the organisation’s relief contributions.

Food recovery platform adapts to fulfill quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis increases the risk of food insecurity, the requirement of social isolation is additionally rendering it more difficult for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an rise in the quantity of people seeking to volunteer in their communities. The challenge is to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has become capable to adapt our extensive food recovery network to do just that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is an international tech nonprofit based in Pittsburgh as well as serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over earlier times 5yrs, we’ve used our eponymous app to construct the planet’s largest network of volunteer food delivery drivers – 10,000 strong and growing. The network was originally meant to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that the pandemic has isolated a number of most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a fresh programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations straight away to households in need, all while following CDC guidelines to be sure everyone’s safety. An initial pilot run with this door-to-door programme delivered emergency food to 175 households in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny and Beaver Counties in late March, and we’re now while using information we gathered to gradually expand the intend to thousands more homes.

We’re undertaking this project in partnership with nonprofits including food banks, food pantries and senior agencies. Once the pilot period in Greater Pittsburgh is completed, the protocol and features is going to be rolled out in all cities how the Food Rescue Hero app serves, having a goal to release nationally sometime this coming year.

A model built for emergencies

We’ve been able to respond nimbly to the current crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the unique logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we make use of a platform similar to the people of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a sizable, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional types of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; in case a truck reduces, lots of the pantries that rely on it won’t get their delivery with the day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is just a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, here is the perfect potential for individuals to serve others safely in these times.

Because of the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only one percent of obtainable rescues. Over days gone by five-years, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to people who require them. And today, lots more people than ever are short of funds.

Thinking beyond your food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is young children within the free and reduced lunch programme within our home base of Pittsburgh. Like a great many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district taken care of immediately school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students in these programmes. For many, however, this relief just isn't accessible because of the distance off their homes to get sites – some children will have to walk 1 hour to acquire lunch. To ensure that these kids don’t fall from the cracks, we’ve been fitting in with bring meals on the one spot we realize kids could possibly get to each day: their bus for school stop.

On 27 March 2020, Food Rescue Hero distributed 500 meals to bus stops in food insecure and unwalkable neighbourhoods. The meals were prepared by local restaurants, giving an enhancement to the local economy. The effort, manufactured in collaboration to local organisations and community members (sufficient reason for support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was a pilot run. Now that we've got proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model in college districts around the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear on this time, our organisation has seen, not really a dip, but a blast at the in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, greater than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent rise in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison to a typical month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests from other cities to produce our app offered to assist with the swell of volunteers who want to make sure that seniors have food. 

Over earlier times five years, our volunteers have finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to folks who need them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is actually the perfect opportunity for website visitors to serve others safely in these times. While maintaining physical distance, people are finding new ways to come together.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero like a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – with the goodwill of ordinary people who want to create the world a tad bit more livable for people. In the eye on this pandemic, there’s a sense helplessness. But there’s still a lot we are able to do for each other. Our platform gives people a secure approach to help their neighbours.

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