Like the rest of the world, COVID required a quick pivot for 412 Food Rescue operations in Pittsburgh. The goals of reducing food waste and ending hunger continued to drive our operations, but we also added pandemic safety to our goals. Many congregant feeding/distribution sites closed, so 412 Food Rescue took on door to door deliveries (to 1500+ households), bus stop distribution of school meals, and Community Takeout (in partnership with local restaurants) to meet the growing need with new solutions. App downloads increased 125% as people looked for ways to safely volunteer and contribute to their community in unprecedented times.
The USDA Farmers to Families program has allowed us to ensure that our housing partners have family-sized boxes to distribute, reducing the need for congregate pickup. Many of our regular donors closed, and in March we managed a rush of donations from closing schools, restaurants, and other businesses. As we continue to work our way through the uncertain reality created by COVID-19, the team works tirelessly to meet our missions. As such, we distributed over one million pounds in June alone, a 300% increase over last year.
Los Angeles, CA
If we could put a theme on these last few months at Food Finders it would be #KeepGoing. We have been working to meet the increased need of our partner agencies while adapting our organization to be safe and functional for our employees, donors, and volunteers. Since mid-March we have distributed 4,057 family boxes and bags to our partners in LA and OC County. Thanks to utilizing the app, we have on-boarded 260 new volunteers willing to give us their spare time to rescue food across six counties in Southern California, thus allowing our senior volunteers to self-isolate.
We’ve also become the fiscal agent to one of the fastest growing grassroots organizations in the nation, the FarmLink Project. Their mission? Rescue the billions of pounds of fresh produce from farmers that would otherwise go to waste in order to feed people in need, reduce carbon emissions, and heal the planet.
Lastly, we are planning our first ever Summer Food Drive-Up, a new type of food drive inspired by the amazing and creative pantry distributions of our partners. We are thankful to have the technology of our Food Rescue Hero app, which has equipped Food Finders with the resources we need to mobilize volunteers efficiently during these times.
Prince William Food Rescue
Prince William County, VA
When COVID hit our area, we partnered with the county government to lead a Community Feeding Task Force. We acquired a warehouse to increase the capacity to receive and redistribute truckloads of fresh produce, milk, meat, and non-perishables provided by the government-funded Farmers to Families program. We also piloted a home delivery program, providing groceries to the doorsteps of over 200 home-bound seniors in our county each month. More than 400 families used our new helpline to learn how to receive groceries and access food at their nearest pantries.
With the help of the Food Rescue Hero app and over 400 Food Rescue Heroes, we have completed over 4,000 food rescues and redistributed over 2.7 million pounds of food as we reach our one year anniversary. Before COVID-19, we created Food Share Tables with Prince William County Schools to educate and engage students to reduce food waste in cafeterias.
San Francisco, CA
When COVID began, we had many tech companies and restaurants contact us to donate food before it spoiled, or to help with emptying their kitchens and pantries. Subsequently, we had a shortfall in donations due to employees working from home (so employers didn’t have to feed them), restaurant closures, and events going scarce. Our Founder Mary Risley and Chef Todd Corboy hatched an idea to start a satellite kitchen, and we were able to address demand from those most in need. Currently, we are producing 1500-2500 meals per day, six days a week, which works out to 40,000-50,000 meals per month. We use the app the schedule runs, which volunteers can claim and fulfill.
Philly Food Rescue
Thanks to the significant efforts of our entire network of volunteers, donors, and community partners, we have saved over one million pounds of food. In addition to our regular schedule of daily food rescues, we’re moving 3 to 4 trucks per week to resource our partners’ efforts through the region. We’re assisting ten separate housing authority sites with weekly food deliveries.
We continue to be encouraged by how many neighbors have used their unexpected time at home during this pandemic to serve our community so faithfully.
Vancouver Food Rescue
Vancouver Food Runners had been in the works for a year, but when COVID-19 hit, our food recovery really took off. (We didn’t even have our Food Rescue Hero app yet!) It was a hectic start, but we are grateful that Vancouver Food Runners could step in when food insecurity started to increase in our city. Since mid-March, we have been able to collect and distribute 110,297 pounds of food (91,914 meals!), and we now have 200 volunteer food runners, 78 food donors, and 30 charity partners.
Since June, our volunteers have been using the Food Rescue Hero app, and it is an incredible tool to manage food runs, coordinate volunteers, and track our impact. A huge thank you to Leah, Jen, Danielle, Anthony, Ryan, and the rest of the team at 412 Food Rescue for mentoring us and supporting us through launching Vancouver Food Runners.
Since the pandemic began, Hunger Network has adapted to meet the needs of the community in a number of ways. Partnering with local restaurants to deliver hot meals to partners has benefited the restaurants, agencies needing support to feed their clients, and of course, those who received the meals. We have also participated in the Farmers to Families program, partnering with local distributor Sanson Company. We’ve expanded our reach into the city of East Cleveland, partnering with nonprofits as well as city officials, police and city workers to deliver food to seniors. Furthermore, we’ve stepped in to help several school districts ensure that their families have access to food throughout the shutdown. We distributed nearly half a million pounds of food in the first half of the year with a 300% increase in the second quarter, answering the urgent need we saw among our partners.
Previous PostFood Rescue Hero Launches in Canada
Next PostCOVID Response Accelerates New App Feature: Home Delivery