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Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is utilizing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to deliver emergency food to the people inside US impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Here, CEO and Co-Founder Leah Lizarondo gives a review of the organisation’s relief contributions.

Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis increases the risk of food insecurity, the necessity for social isolation is also which makes it harder for vulnerable individuals to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an surge in the quantity of people aiming to volunteer of their communities. The challenge would be to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, may be able to adapt our extensive food recovery network to perform exactly 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 soon, Vancouver. Over earlier times 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 meant to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that this pandemic has isolated a number of most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a new programme to supply no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations right to households in need of assistance, 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 with all 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 be rolled out in most cities that the Food Rescue Hero app serves, with a goal to discharge nationally sometime this year.

A model built for emergencies

We’ve been in a position to 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 utilize a platform similar to people of ride-sharing companies to coordinate a sizable, 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 stops working, a lot of the pantries that be determined by it won’t obtain 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 can be a perfect opportunity for website visitors to serve others safely in these times.

Because with the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing merely one percent of obtainable rescues. Over days gone by 5 years, our volunteers have completed a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to people who need them. And right now, lots more people than previously are short of funds.

Thinking outside of the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is young children inside free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like numerous others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district answered school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students during these programmes. For many, however, this relief just isn't accessible because in the distance using their homes to get sites – some children would need to walk an hour to obtain lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall with the cracks, we’ve been working to bring meals towards the one spot we realize kids could get to every single 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 made by local restaurants, giving a lift to the local economy. The effort, manufactured in collaboration along with other local organisations and community members (with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would have been a pilot run. Now that we have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for your model at school districts throughout the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear with this time, our organisation has seen, not a dip, but an outburst in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, more than 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent boost in new volunteer sign-ups in comparison with a typical month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests off their cities to generate our app available to help with the swell of volunteers who want to be sure that seniors have food. 

Over days gone by five years, our volunteers have finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to people who require 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, everyone is finding new approaches to add up.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero being a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – from the goodwill of ordinary people that want to make the entire world a tad bit more livable for people. In the face area of this pandemic, there’s a sense helplessness. But there’s still so much we can do for each and every other. Our platform gives people a safe method to help their neighbours.

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