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Food recovery platform adapts to satisfy quarantine needs

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

Food recovery platform adapts to fulfill quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis enhances the probability of food insecurity, the necessity for social isolation is also which makes it more difficult for vulnerable visitors to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an boost in the volume of people aiming to volunteer inside their communities. The challenge is usually to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has been able to adapt our extensive food recovery network to complete just that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is surely an international tech nonprofit situated in Pittsburgh as well as serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over yesteryear five years, we’ve used our eponymous app to build the world’s largest network of volunteer food delivery drivers – 10,000 strong and growing. The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocers and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now the pandemic has isolated a number of most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a brand new programme to deliver no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations straight to households in need of assistance, all while following CDC guidelines to be sure everyone’s safety. An initial pilot run on 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 the 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 fully gone, the protocol and features will probably be rolled out in all of the cities that this Food Rescue Hero app serves, using a goal to produce nationally sometime this season.

A model developed for emergencies

We’ve been capable of respond nimbly to the present crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we work with a platform similar to prospects of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a big, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional kinds of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if the truck stops working, a lot of the pantries that be determined by it won’t acquire 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, this can be a perfect opportunity for individuals to serve others safely over these times.

Because with the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing just one percent of accessible rescues. Over yesteryear five-years, our volunteers have completed more than 90,000 rescues and delivered more than 12 million meals to people who are required them. And right this moment, more and more people than ever before are in need.

Thinking beyond your food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is young children inside free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district replied to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students over these programmes. For many, however, this relief is just not accessible because in the distance using their homes to get sites – some children would need to walk an 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 every single day: their limo bus stop.

On 27 March 2020, Food Rescue Hero distributed 500 meals to bus stops in food insecure and unwalkable neighbourhoods. The meals were served by local restaurants, giving an enhancement to the local economy. The effort, made in collaboration with local organisations and community members (along with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would be a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for the model in class districts throughout the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear on this time, our organisation has seen, not only a dip, but an outburst in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, more than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent boost in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison to a typical month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests business cities to generate our app accessible to assist with the swell of volunteers who want to make sure that seniors have food. 

Over the past 5 years, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to folks who need them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this can be a perfect chance for visitors to serve others safely in these times. While maintaining physical distance, folks are finding new approaches to bond.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero as being 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 bit more livable for everyone. In the face of this pandemic, there’s a feeling of helplessness. But there’s still so much we can easily do for each and every other. Our platform gives people a safe method to help their neighbours.

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