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Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

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

Food recovery platform adapts to satisfy quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis increases the risk of food insecurity, the need for social isolation is additionally rendering it harder for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an boost in the amount of people seeking to volunteer in their communities. The challenge would be 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 complete that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero can be an international tech nonprofit based in Pittsburgh plus serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over earlier times five years, we’ve used our eponymous app to construct the planet’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 The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from supermarkets and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now how the pandemic has isolated a number of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a new programme to deliver no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations straight 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 intend 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 done, the protocol and features will probably be rolled out in all cities that the Food Rescue Hero app serves, with a goal to release nationally sometime this season.

A model developed for emergencies

We’ve been able to respond nimbly to the present 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 large, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional types of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; in case a truck reduces, many of the pantries that depend upon it won’t get their 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, this is the perfect opportunity for individuals to serve others safely over these times.

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

Thinking outside the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is young children inside free and reduced lunch programme inside our home base of Pittsburgh. Like many more nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district taken care of immediately 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 in the distance off their homes to grab sites – some children must walk one hour to acquire lunch. To ensure that these kids don’t fall over the cracks, we’ve been fitting in with bring meals to 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 made by local restaurants, giving a good start on the local economy. The effort, produced in collaboration with local organisations and community members (along with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would be a pilot run. Now that we've proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model in college districts across 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, greater than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent boost in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison to a typical month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests business cities to create our app available to assistance with the swell of volunteers who want to ensure that seniors have food. 

Over yesteryear 5 years, our volunteers have completely finished over 90,000 rescues and delivered more than 12 million meals to the people who need them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect chance for people to serve others safely over these times. While maintaining physical distance, people are 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 – from the goodwill of ordinary people that want to create the world more livable for people. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s feeling of helplessness. But there’s still much we can easily do for each other. Our platform gives people a good strategy to help their neighbours.

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