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Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

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

As the COVID-19 crisis raises the chance of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation can be so that it is more difficult for vulnerable visitors to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an surge in the volume of people trying to volunteer inside their communities. The challenge is always to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, may be capable to adapt our extensive food recovery network to complete exactly that.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is definitely an international tech nonprofit based in Pittsburgh plus serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, Vancouver. Over days gone by five-years, we’ve used our eponymous app to build the 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 grocers and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now that this pandemic has isolated quite a few most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a fresh programme to supply no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations right to households short of funds, all while following CDC guidelines to make certain everyone’s safety. An initial pilot run with 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 fully gone, the protocol and features is going to be rolled out in most cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, using a goal to release nationally sometime in 2010.

A model designed for emergencies

We’ve been capable to respond nimbly for this crisis because our network is structured to adapt to emergencies. Focusing on the unique 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 kinds of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if your truck breaks down, many of the pantries that depend on it won’t get their delivery for your day. With the Food Rescue Hero network, however, a back-up driver is only a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect opportunity for website visitors to serve others safely over these times.

Because from the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only one percent of obtainable rescues. Over earlier times 5yrs, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered more than 12 million meals to individuals who need them. And today, the best way to than ever are in need.

Thinking outside the 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 many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district replied to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students during these programmes. For many, however, this relief is not accessible because with the distance off their homes to get sites – some children would have to walk 1 hour to have lunch. To be sure that these kids don’t fall from the cracks, we’ve been attempting to bring meals to the one spot we all know kids can get to each and every day: their bus for school 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 an enhancement to the local economy. The effort, made in collaboration along with other local organisations and community members (and with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), would be a pilot run. Now that we've got proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate to the model in class districts around the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear of this time, our organisation has seen, not 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 with an average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests off their cities to make our app accessible to benefit the swell of volunteers who want to be sure that seniors have food. 

Over days gone by five-years, our volunteers have finished over 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to the people who are required them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this can be a perfect chance for people to serve others safely in these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new solutions to get together.

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 people who want to generate the planet more livable for everyone. In the facial skin on this pandemic, there’s feeling of helplessness. But there’s still much we can do for each other. Our platform gives people a secure strategy to help their neighbours.

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