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Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is applying its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to deliver emergency food to the people within the 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 in order to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis enhances the chance of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation is additionally which makes it more difficult for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an boost in the quantity of people seeking to volunteer in their communities. The challenge is always 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 exactly that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero can be an international tech nonprofit situated in Pittsburgh and in addition serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over the past five years, we’ve used our eponymous app to construct the entire 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 food markets and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that this pandemic has isolated many of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a fresh programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households short of funds, all while following CDC guidelines to make certain 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 while using the information we gathered to gradually expand the intend 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 completed, the protocol and features will likely be rolled out in every cities how the Food Rescue Hero app serves, having a goal to release nationally sometime this year.

A model designed for emergencies

We’ve been capable of respond nimbly to the current crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the unique logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we work with a platform similar to people of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a big, 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 stops working, many of the pantries that rely on it won’t manage to get thier delivery for your 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 actually the perfect chance of people to serve others safely during these times.

Because in the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only 1 percent of accessible rescues. Over the past 5yrs, our volunteers have completely finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered more than 12 million meals to the people who are required them. And right now, more and more people than previously are in need of assistance.

Thinking outside of the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is youngsters inside free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like many more nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district responded to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students of these programmes. For many, however, this relief just isn't accessible because with the distance using their homes to grab sites – some children will have to walk an hour or so to get lunch. To ensure that these kids don’t fall through the cracks, we’ve been working to bring meals towards the one spot we know kids can 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 good start for the local economy. The effort, produced in collaboration with local organisations and community members (with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was a pilot run. Now that we've proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for the model in class districts throughout 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, a lot more than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent surge in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison to an average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests off their cities to create our app available to benefit the swell of volunteers who want to be sure that seniors have food. 

Over yesteryear five-years, our volunteers have completed greater 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 chance of people to serve others safely during these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new methods 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 – by the goodwill of ordinary individuals who want to generate the planet a tad bit more livable for people. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s a sense helplessness. But there’s still a great deal we are able to do per other. Our platform gives people a safe approach to help their neighbours.

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