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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 in 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 to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis boosts the risk of food insecurity, the requirement of social isolation is also rendering it more difficult for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an rise in the number of people aiming to volunteer in their communities. The challenge is to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, continues to be in a position to adapt our extensive food recovery network to complete exactly that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is definitely an international tech nonprofit operating out of Pittsburgh as well as serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over yesteryear 5 years, we’ve used our eponymous app to create the world’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 supermarkets and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that this pandemic has isolated a number of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a brand new programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households in need of assistance, all while following CDC guidelines to make certain 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 information we gathered to gradually expand the want 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 done, the protocol and features will probably be rolled out in all cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, with a goal to release 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 unique logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we utilize a platform similar to the people of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a substantial, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional types of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if the truck reduces, many of the pantries that depend upon it won’t get their delivery for that day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is simply push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect potential for website visitors to serve others safely during these times.

Because from the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing just one percent of obtainable rescues. Over days gone by five-years, our volunteers have completed greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to folks who require them. And right this moment, lots more people than previously are short of funds.

Thinking outside of the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is young children inside the free and reduced lunch programme within our home base of Pittsburgh. Like numerous 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 is just not accessible because with the distance from other homes to pick up sites – some children must walk one hour to have lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall from the cracks, we’ve been working to bring meals towards the one spot we understand kids could possibly get to every single 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 served by local restaurants, giving a good start on 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), would be a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for the model in class districts across the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear on this time, our organisation has seen, not really a dip, but an outburst in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, over 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent surge in new volunteer sign-ups when compared with an average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests using their company cities to create our app open to assistance with the swell of volunteers who want to be sure that seniors have food. 

Over earlier times 5yrs, our volunteers have finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to the people who are required them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect opportunity for people to serve others safely of these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new ways to add up.

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 individuals who want to produce the entire world more livable for everyone. In the face with this pandemic, there’s a feeling of helplessness. But there’s still so much we could do per other. Our platform gives people a good approach to help their neighbours.

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