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Food recovery platform adapts in order to meet quarantine needs

Tech nonprofit Food Rescue Hero is utilizing its 10,000-strong network of volunteer drivers to supply 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 to satisfy quarantine needs

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

Door-to-door food aid

Food Rescue Hero is an international tech nonprofit located in Pittsburgh and also serves Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, and very soon, Vancouver. Over yesteryear 5yrs, we’ve used our eponymous app to create the globe’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 that this pandemic has isolated a number of our most vulnerable community members, we’re testing a brand new programme to provide no-contact home deliveries. Volunteers bring donations straight to households in need, all while following CDC guidelines to ensure 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 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 fully gone, the protocol and features will probably be rolled out in all of the cities the Food Rescue Hero app serves, with a goal to produce nationally sometime in 2010.

A model built for emergencies

We’ve been able to 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 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; if the truck reduces, most of the pantries that depend upon it won’t manage to get thier delivery for that 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 chance of visitors to serve others safely in these times.

Because of the platform’s flexibility, our service level stands at 99 percent, missing just one percent of accessible rescues. Over yesteryear 5 years, our volunteers have completely finished greater than 90,000 rescues and delivered over 12 million meals to the people who are required them. And today, the best way to than ever are short of funds.

Thinking outside of the 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 others nationally, the Pittsburgh public school district responded to school closures by quickly making take-home meals available on-site to students in these programmes. For many, however, this relief is not accessible because of the distance from other homes to post sites – some children would have to walk one hour to have lunch. To make certain that these kids don’t fall over the cracks, we’ve been fitting in with bring meals towards the one spot we understand kids will 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 made by local restaurants, giving an enhancement to the local economy. The effort, made in collaboration to local organisations and community members (with support from actor and Pittsburgh area native Michael Keaton), was a pilot run. Now that we've proof-of-concept, we’ll advocate for that model in school districts round the country.

People helping people

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

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 people who are required them.

Because driving food requires no congregation or groups, here is the perfect potential for individuals to serve others safely over these times. While maintaining physical distance, folks are finding new methods to add up.

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

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