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Food recovery platform adapts to satisfy quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is employing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to provide emergency food to those inside 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 meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis increases the chance of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation is also so that it is tougher for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an surge in the number of people looking to volunteer within their communities. The challenge would be to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has been capable of adapt our extensive food recovery network to complete that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is an international tech nonprofit situated in Pittsburgh as well as serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and soon, Vancouver. Over yesteryear five-years, we’ve used our eponymous app to create 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 The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocers and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.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 how the pandemic has isolated quite a few most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a whole new programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households in need of assistance, all while following CDC guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety. An initial pilot run of 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 the information we gathered to gradually expand the service 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 fully gone, the protocol and features will probably be rolled out in all cities that this Food Rescue Hero app serves, which has a goal release a nationally sometime this season.

A model developed 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 initial logistical challenges of retail food recovery, we use a platform similar to prospects of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a sizable, 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 breaks down, most of the pantries that be determined by it won’t obtain delivery to the day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is just a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this can be a perfect chance for website visitors 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 days gone by 5yrs, our volunteers have finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to individuals who require them. And at this time, the best way to than in the past are in need.

Thinking beyond your food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is school children within the free and reduced lunch programme in our 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 during these programmes. For many, however, this relief is just not accessible because from the distance from other homes to post sites – some children must walk an hour or so to get lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall from the cracks, we’ve been working to bring meals on the one spot we understand kids could possibly get to each 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 prepared by local restaurants, giving a boost towards the local economy. The effort, stated in collaboration with local organisations and community members (along with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would have been a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate to the model in college districts around the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear on this time, our organisation has seen, not only a dip, but an increase in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, over 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 using their company cities to produce our app accessible to help with the swell of volunteers who want to ensure that seniors have food. 

Over yesteryear 5yrs, our volunteers have completely finished more than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to folks who require them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is actually the perfect opportunity for individuals to serve others safely over these times. While maintaining physical distance, folks are finding new approaches to bond.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero like a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – from the goodwill of ordinary those who want to make the globe a bit more livable for individuals. In the facial skin with this pandemic, there’s feeling of helplessness. But there’s still much we are able to do per other. Our platform gives people a secure way to help their neighbours.

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