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Food recovery platform adapts to fulfill quarantine needs

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

Food recovery platform adapts to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis boosts the chance of food insecurity, the requirement for social isolation can also be so that it is harder for vulnerable website visitors to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an boost in the number 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 capable of adapt our extensive food recovery network to perform this.

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is an international tech nonprofit located in Pittsburgh and in addition serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and shortly, 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 designed to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from grocery stores and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.

food delivery

Now the pandemic has isolated a number of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a brand new programme to offer no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations directly to households in need, all while following CDC guidelines to make sure 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 service 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 finished, the protocol and features will likely be rolled out in all of the cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, which has a goal to discharge nationally sometime in 2010.

A model produced for emergencies

We’ve been in a position 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 utilize a platform similar to those 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 stops working, lots 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 simply a push notification away. 

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is actually the perfect chance of individuals to serve others safely of these times.

Because with the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only 1 percent of available rescues. Over earlier times five years, our volunteers have finished more than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to the people who are required them. And at this time, more and more people than ever are in need of assistance.

Thinking beyond your food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is school children inside the free and reduced lunch programme in your home base of Pittsburgh. Like a great many others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district replied to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students in these programmes. For many, however, this relief is just not accessible because with the distance using their homes to get sites – some children will have to walk an hour or so to acquire lunch. To make sure that these kids don’t fall with the cracks, we’ve been fitting in with bring meals towards the one spot we know kids could possibly get to every single 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 prepared by local restaurants, giving a good start to the local economy. The effort, produced in collaboration with local organisations and community members (sufficient reason for support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was obviously a pilot run. Now that we've got proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for that model in college districts across the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear of this time, our organisation has seen, not only a dip, but a blast at the 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 in comparison to the average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests off their cities to create our app offered to assistance with the swell of volunteers who want to make certain that seniors have food. 

Over yesteryear five years, our volunteers have completed more than 90,000 rescues and delivered greater than 12 million meals to folks who need them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect chance for individuals to serve others safely during these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new approaches to come together.

We always envisioned Food Rescue Hero being a movement. The network is coordinated by technology, but it’s powered by communities – with the goodwill of ordinary people who want to produce the world a tad bit more livable for individuals. In the eye of this pandemic, there’s a sense helplessness. But there’s still much we could do for each other. Our platform gives people a secure strategy to help their neighbours.

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