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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 provide emergency food to people inside US impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here, CEO and Co-Founder Leah Lizarondo gives a summary of the organisation’s relief contributions.

Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis enhances the risk of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation is additionally which makes it harder for vulnerable visitors to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an increase in the quantity of people aiming to volunteer of their communities. The challenge is always to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has been able to adapt our extensive food recovery network to accomplish that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is definitely an international tech nonprofit located in Pittsburgh and in addition serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and very quickly, Vancouver. Over days gone by five-years, we’ve used our eponymous app to develop the globe’s largest network of volunteer food delivery drivers – 10,000 strong and growing. The network was originally built to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that the pandemic has isolated quite a few most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a brand new programme to supply no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households in need, 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 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 done, the protocol and features will likely be rolled out in all cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, using a goal to release nationally sometime in 2010.

A model developed for emergencies

We’ve been capable to respond nimbly for this crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the 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 breaks down, a lot of the pantries that rely on it won’t obtain 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, here is the perfect chance for visitors to serve others safely in 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 five years, our volunteers have completely finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to people who are required them. And at this time, the best way to than ever before are in need of assistance.

Thinking away from 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 over these programmes. For many, however, this relief isn't accessible because with the distance using their homes to post sites – some children must walk an hour to acquire lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall with the cracks, we’ve been attempting to bring meals for the one spot we realize kids can get to each and 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, made in collaboration with local organisations and community members (sufficient reason for support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model in college districts across the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear of the 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 surge in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison with a normal month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests using their company cities to make our app open to benefit the swell of volunteers who want to make sure that seniors have food. 

Over days gone by 5yrs, our volunteers have completely finished more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to people who are required 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, folks are finding new methods 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 individuals who want to make the planet more livable for everyone. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s a sense helplessness. But there’s still a lot we could do per other. Our platform gives people a secure way to help their neighbours.

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