Two major players in food rescue are joining forces to scale operations and respond to the disconnect between the fact that we waste 40 percent of our food while one in seven are hungry. Since 2016, Food Rescue Hero, a spin-off of 412 Food Rescue, has mobilized an app-coordinated network of volunteers to redirect surplus food to those who need it. Now, the Pittsburgh startup is partnering with Food Donation Connection, a 28-year global pioneer in food recovery, to amplify the impact of both organizations.
The Food Rescue Hero app enables volunteers to transport fresh, perishable surplus food from grocery stores, restaurants and other retailers directly to organizations that serve food insecure populations. More than 12,000 people have downloaded the app.
Since its launch, Food Rescue Hero has rescued more than 7 million pounds of good food in its home base of Pittsburgh. Now, the organization is partnering with fellow nonprofits to drive and scale food rescue in other cities. The network has recently expanded to include San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland and northern Virginia, with plans for partnerships in 100 cities by 2030.
Boosting these efforts will be Food Rescue Hero’s new collaboration with Food Donation Connection.
Founded in 1992, Food Donation Connection has been tackling food waste since long before it became the hot topic it is today. Over its almost three decades in operation, the organization has worked in 24 countries and has recovered more than 550 million pounds of food from more than 18,000 of the world’s largest restaurants and food retailers, including Whole Foods and Darden restaurant group.
Now, these two organizations will be collaborating to integrate their food recovery technology into an end-to-end platform.
“Food Donation Connection has a strong network of longstanding relationships and a well-established platform for food donors, enabling them to track donations and fully utilize available tax benefits,” said Leah Lizarondo, CEO and co-founder of Food Rescue Hero, in a statement. “Meanwhile, Food Rescue Hero has a strong community engagement model and last-mile delivery technology. Combining these strengths will super-power our impact.”
“Through this collaboration, we can increase efficiency throughout the entire process of food rescue and make it easier and more appealing for participants at every step,” said Food Donation Connection President Bill Reighard in a statement. “Together, we can create more opportunities for donors, volunteers and recipients. And that means less food waste and less hunger.”
“There’s a tremendous will to alleviate the problems of food waste and hunger right now,” added Lizarondo. “Both of our organizations share a strong commitment to realizing the potential of food surplus to end hunger. The processes and technology we have created are with that end in mind—not just food recovery but revolutionizing distribution. We are only scratching the surface of the potential for food recovery to impact hunger—our two organizations working together will create tremendous change we have not seen in decades.”
To learn more about these organizations and their partnership, join us at the Sixth Annual Food Recovery Forum at WasteExpo, May 4-7 in New Orleans.
Dr. Stuart Buckner is the president of Buckner Environmental Associates, conference chair and program director for The Food Recovery Forum & Organics Recycling Conference at WasteExpo and organics editor for Waste360.