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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 those 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 in order to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis enhances the likelihood of food insecurity, the need for social isolation is also rendering it tougher for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an boost in the quantity of people looking to volunteer in their communities. The challenge is usually to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, may be in a position to adapt our extensive food recovery network to perform just that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is surely an international tech nonprofit based in Pittsburgh plus serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and very soon, Vancouver. Over days gone by 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 The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocers and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now the pandemic has isolated many of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a whole new programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households short of funds, all while following CDC guidelines to ensure 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 likely be rolled out in every cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, which has a goal release a nationally sometime this year.

A model built for emergencies

We’ve been capable to respond nimbly to the present 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 people of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a substantial, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional models of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if your truck reduces, lots of the pantries that rely on it won’t manage to get thier delivery for that 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 individuals to serve others safely of these times.

Because of the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only one percent of obtainable rescues. Over yesteryear 5 years, our volunteers have completed over 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to people who need them. And at this time, the best way to than ever are short of funds.

Thinking outside the 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 many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district replied to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students in these programmes. For many, however, this relief just isn't accessible because of the distance using their homes to grab sites – some children must walk 1 hour to get lunch. To be sure that these kids don’t fall over the cracks, we’ve been attempting to bring meals on the one spot we understand kids could get to every 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 a boost on the local economy. The effort, manufactured in collaboration along with other local organisations and community members (sufficient reason for support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was obviously a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for the model in college districts around the country.

People helping people

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

Over the past five-years, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to the people who are required them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect potential for visitors to serve others safely during these times. While maintaining physical distance, individuals are finding new methods to get together.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero as a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – by the goodwill of ordinary people that want to generate the globe a bit more livable for individuals. In the eye on this pandemic, there’s a feeling of helplessness. But there’s still so much we are able to do for every other. Our platform gives people a safe method to help their neighbours.

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