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Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is utilizing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to supply emergency food to the people inside the 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 in order to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis raises the probability of food insecurity, the need for social isolation can be which makes it tougher for vulnerable people to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an increase in the amount of people aiming to volunteer in their communities. The challenge would be to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has become capable of adapt our extensive food recovery network to do exactly that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is an international tech nonprofit based in Pittsburgh plus serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and very soon, Vancouver. Over earlier times five years, we’ve used our eponymous app to create the planet’s largest network of volunteer food delivery drivers – 10,000 strong and growing. The network was originally designed to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocers and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

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

We’re undertaking this project in partnership with nonprofits such as food banks, food pantries and senior agencies. Once the pilot period in Greater Pittsburgh is finished, the protocol and features will be rolled out in all of the cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, having a goal to produce nationally sometime in 2010.

A model designed for emergencies

We’ve been able to respond nimbly to the present crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the unique logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we work with a platform similar to prospects of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a substantial, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional styles of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if the truck reduces, a lot of the pantries that depend on it won’t get their delivery with the day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is only a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is actually the perfect chance of visitors to serve others safely over these times.

Because of the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing just one percent of accessible rescues. Over the past five years, our volunteers have completed a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to people who are required them. And today, more people than previously are in need.

Thinking outside the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is youngsters within the free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like a great many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district replied to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students of these programmes. For many, however, this relief isn't accessible because of the distance off their homes to get sites – some children would need to walk one hour to obtain lunch. To make sure that these kids don’t fall over the cracks, we’ve been trying to bring meals to the one spot we understand kids will get to each and every day: their chartered 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 a good start to the local economy. The effort, stated in collaboration to local organisations and community members (along with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would have been a pilot run. Now that we have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model at school districts round the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear with this time, our organisation has seen, not really a dip, but an increase in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, greater than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent increase in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison to an average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests from other cities to create our app accessible to benefit the swell of volunteers who want to make certain that seniors have food. 

Over earlier times 5 years, our volunteers have completely finished more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to the people who require them.

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

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero as a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – with the goodwill of ordinary those who want to produce the entire world a little more livable for all of us. In the facial skin of the pandemic, there’s a sense of helplessness. But there’s still so much we can do for every other. Our platform gives people a good approach to help their neighbours.

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