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Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is employing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to offer emergency food to those within the US relying on the coronavirus pandemic. Here, CEO and Co-Founder Leah Lizarondo gives a review of the organisation’s relief contributions.

Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis raises the risk of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation can also be making it tougher for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an surge in the number of people looking to volunteer in their communities. The challenge is to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, may be capable of adapt our extensive food recovery network to complete exactly that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero can be an international tech nonprofit operating out of Pittsburgh plus 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 globe’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 grocery stores 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 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 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 using the information we gathered to gradually expand the want 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 done, the protocol and features will be rolled out in most cities that the Food Rescue Hero app serves, using a goal to produce nationally sometime in 2010.

A model designed 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 use a platform similar to those 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; if your truck in time breaks down, lots of the pantries that depend on it won’t obtain delivery with the day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is simply a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, here is the perfect chance 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 accessible rescues. Over days gone by 5yrs, our volunteers have completely finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to the people who need them. And today, lots more people than ever before are in need of assistance.

Thinking beyond your food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is school children inside the free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like numerous 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 not accessible because of the distance from other homes to post sites – some children must walk an hour or so to obtain lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall with the cracks, we’ve been working to bring meals towards the one spot we understand kids could possibly get to each day: their school 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 boost for the local economy. The effort, stated in collaboration with other local organisations and community members (along with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was obviously a pilot run. Now that we've proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model at school districts round the country.

People helping people

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

Over earlier times five years, our volunteers have finished over 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to individuals who are required them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, here is the perfect potential for website visitors to serve others safely of these times. While maintaining physical distance, folks are finding new solutions to come together.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero like a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – through the goodwill of ordinary those who want to generate the world a tad bit more livable for all of us. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s a feeling of helplessness. But there’s still so much we can do for every other. Our platform gives people a good way to help their neighbours.

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