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Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is utilizing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to provide emergency food to people inside US suffering from 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 raises the risk of food insecurity, the necessity for social isolation is also rendering it more difficult for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an increase in the amount of people looking to volunteer within their communities. The challenge is usually to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has become in a position to adapt our extensive food recovery network to accomplish this.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is definitely an international tech nonprofit located in Pittsburgh plus serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over earlier times 5 years, we’ve used our eponymous app to develop 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 The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now how 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 right to households short of funds, all while following CDC guidelines to ensure 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 want to thousands more homes.

We’re undertaking this project in partnership with nonprofits like food banks, food pantries and senior agencies. Once the pilot period in Greater Pittsburgh is completed, the protocol and features will be rolled out in most cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, which has a goal to release nationally sometime in 2010.

A model designed for emergencies

We’ve been capable of respond nimbly for this crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the initial logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we utilize a platform similar to prospects of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a large, 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 breaks down, lots of the pantries that depend upon it won’t get their delivery to the 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 can be a perfect opportunity for individuals to serve others safely in these times.

Because in the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only 1 percent of accessible rescues. Over yesteryear five years, our volunteers have completed over 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to the people who require them. And right this moment, 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 in the free and reduced lunch programme within our 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 of these programmes. For many, however, this relief is not accessible because in the distance using their homes to post sites – some children would need to walk an hour to get lunch. To make sure that these kids don’t fall with the cracks, we’ve been attempting to bring meals towards the one spot we realize kids could possibly get to every 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 on the local economy. The effort, stated in collaboration to local organisations and community members (with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was obviously a pilot run. Now that we have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for the model in class districts across the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear of the time, our organisation has seen, not a dip, but a blast at the in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, more than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent rise in new volunteer sign-ups compared to the average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests off their cities to generate our app open to assistance with the swell of volunteers who want to be sure that seniors have food. 

Over days gone by five-years, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to individuals who require them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is actually the perfect potential for people to serve others safely of these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new solutions to get together.

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 produce the entire world a little more livable for individuals. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s a sense of helplessness. But there’s still a lot we can do for every other. Our platform gives people a secure strategy to help their neighbours.

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