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Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

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

Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

As the COVID-19 crisis increases the risk of food insecurity, the need for social isolation is also which makes it tougher for vulnerable people to reach food assistance. Hearteningly, we’re seeing an increase in the number of people seeking to volunteer within their communities. The challenge would be to harness this swell of engagement safely and effectively. My organisation, Food Rescue Hero, has become able to adapt our extensive food recovery network to do this.

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 earlier times five-years, we’ve used our eponymous app to develop the entire 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 The network was originally made to prevent food waste by delivering surplus from food markets and restaurants to nonprofits that serve people experiencing food insecurity.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 brand new programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations straight away 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 using the information we gathered to gradually expand the want to thousands more homes.

We’re undertaking this project in partnership with nonprofits for example 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 the Food Rescue Hero app serves, having a goal to discharge nationally sometime this year.

A model designed for emergencies

We’ve been in a position to respond nimbly to the present 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 substantial, distributed network of volunteer drivers. In traditional styles of retail food donation, regularly scheduled delivery trucks move food from donors to food pantries; if a truck breaks down, lots of the pantries that be determined by it won’t get their delivery for that 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, here is the perfect chance for individuals to serve others safely in these times.

Because of the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing only one percent of available rescues. Over the past five-years, our volunteers have finished a lot more than 90,000 rescues and delivered a lot more than 12 million meals to individuals who are required them. And right this moment, lots more people than ever before are short of funds.

Thinking outside the food shelf

delivering food to shop

One particularly vulnerable group we’ve identified is youngsters in the free and reduced lunch programme inside our 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 over these programmes. For many, however, this relief is just not accessible because of the distance from other homes to grab sites – some children will have to walk 1 hour to obtain lunch. To make sure that these kids don’t fall through the cracks, we’ve been attempting to bring meals to the one spot we understand kids can 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 served by local restaurants, giving an enhancement to the local economy. The effort, manufactured in collaboration with other local organisations and community members (and with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was obviously a pilot run. Now that we now have proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate to the model in class districts throughout the country.

People helping people

Amidst the uncertainty and fear of this time, our organisation has seen, not only a dip, but a surge in new volunteers. Nationwide in March, over 1,500 new volunteers downloaded the app, which reflects a 300 percent surge in new volunteer sign-ups when compared with the average month. We’ve also seen a spike in requests using their company cities to create our app open to help with the swell of volunteers who want to ensure that seniors have food. 

Over earlier times five years, our volunteers have finished over 90,000 rescues and delivered more than 12 million meals to people who require them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, this is the perfect opportunity for website visitors to serve others safely of these times. While maintaining physical distance, everyone is finding new ways 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 – through the goodwill of ordinary individuals who want to create the world a little more livable for everyone. In the face area on this pandemic, there’s feeling of helplessness. But there’s still much we can easily do for every other. Our platform gives people a safe approach to help their neighbours.

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