In 2016, 412 Food Rescue developed a new app to aid in their mission to “get food from the farm to the table of those in need.” But what sets the new app, Food Rescue Hero, apart from others across America, is that the app not only informs users of when there is surplus food, but coordinates volunteers, or rescuers, to pick up the food and take it to those in need.
Founded in March 2015, 412 Food Rescue has worked with food retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, caterers, universities and other food providers to rescue un-sellable but perfectly good food. With their own truck and a small army of rescuers, they pick up and drop off the food to different beneficiary organizations around Pittsburgh. What makes the donations time sensitive and the app necessary is that 412 Food Rescue only rescues fresh and healthy foods–nothing processed– to provide healthy meals for our community. From a small batch of food left from a catered event, to a large surplus of food, size doesn’t matter and 412 Food Rescue will send their volunteers to pick it up because any amount can help feed our region’s people.
That’s where their new app comes in. Food Rescue Hero launched in late 2016 to make food delivery the most efficient it can be. Rescuers receive notifications on their phones when food is available to be rescued, and each rescuer can choose whether or not to take the lead on delivering it. Additionally, the app matches donations to appropriate nonprofits, making sure that the organizations are matched with the right type of food for their needs.
Co-founder Leah Lizarondo explains in an article on Pittsburgh Crains that 412 Food Rescue’s huge success this past year is because their rescuers are able to use social media to communicate and “spread the word and take selfies of themselves making deliveries” to get the word out about volunteering. The rescuers have a 99% pickup rate because of the robust and dedicated community Lizarondo and co-founder Gisele Fetterman have created.
In 412 Food Rescue’s first twenty-one months, their 1,000 food rescuers have already rescued over 1,027,789 lbs of food—that’s 856,491 meals for people in our region! Food Rescue Hero will allow them to increase their volunteer efficiency and deliver even more meals in the months to come.
Rebecca Sufrin, Communications and Engagement Associate