Evan Ehlers is the 27 year old founder of Sharing Excess, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that rescues and distributes surplus food nationally from grocers, retailers, and wholesalers to communities experiencing food insecurity. To date, the organization has partnered with over 400 businesses and nonprofits to provide 28 million pounds of food to more than one million people.
While attending Drexel University as a student studying entrepreneurship & innovation at the Close School, Evan decided to donate all his unused meal swipes from his dining account that he knew he wouldn't be able to use before the end of the term. After driving around Philadelphia giving away his meals for free, he realized a great need for food in his community and a massively untapped potential to share perfectly edible food that was going to waste across the city. This day changed his life forever and was the inspiration for Sharing Excess.
Throughout 2018-2019, Evan worked on Sharing Excess between classes as a boot-strapped startup What started with sharing meal swipes quickly evolved into a greater movement of food rescue partnerships with local grocers and restaurants who began donating unsold food to Sharing Excess on a daily basis. Using his grandmother’s car, Evan would pick up food donations and deliver them to local hunger relief organizations that fed hundreds of families weekly. After hiring a small crew of part-time drivers, the network continued to expand its partnerships.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, the work of Sharing Excess was thrown into the spotlight. The organization accelerated its growth to meet a staggering demand of local food waste and food insecurity. After finding a small warehouse for sale on Facebook, the operation established a brick and mortar distribution center in the heart of West Philadelphia. Throughout 2020-2022 the nonprofit grew to become the largest food rescue organization in the city by partnering with nearly every grocery store and food bank in the area. In 2021, Sharing Excess established a game-changer partnership with the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market to rescue and redistribute millions of pounds of surplus produce from their 700,000 square foot facility in Southwest Philadelphia.
Although the impact of Sharing Excess is primarily based in the Philadelphia area, the organization now rescues and distributes food in 20 states across the country and has rescued and redistributed a cumulative 23 million meals since 2018. Over time, Sharing Excess aims to implement its locally-focused solution to food waste and food insecurity on a global scale. Through Sharing Excess and other entrepreneurial endeavors, Evan plans to dedicate his life to solving the social and logistical barriers that prevent people from accessing the basic resources they need to live healthy and happy lives.
About Sharing Excess:
Sharing Excess (SE) is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that uses surplus food as a solution to scarcity. While over 40 million people in the US face food insecurity, nearly 40% of the nation's food supply is going to waste. Our mission is to bridge the gap between excess and scarcity by partnering with grocery stores, restaurants, wholesalers, and farmers to deliver surplus food to a network of nonprofits, food banks, and community organizations to alleviate local food insecurity. SE works with over 200 food businesses to deliver 15 million meals annually to over 330 organizations and 38 pop-up distribution locations.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania