Saving food from going to waste just got easier with 412 Food Rescue’s new app, Food Rescue Hero.
The local nonprofit launched the free, downloadable mobile app—now available in the iTunes App Store and on Google Play—as a way to better engage their volunteers with food loss prevention. Described in an official statement as “Uber for food rescue,” the app connects 412 Food Rescue volunteers with opportunities to transport surplus food from groceries and restaurants to charities and shelters near them.
The nonprofit has recruited around 1,000 volunteers who, over the past 20 months, have retrieved a combined total of one million pounds of food.
“412 Food Rescue approaches the food waste problem with an innovative lens,” says 412 Food Rescue co-founder and CEO Leah Lizarondo, adding that the app is critical to their mission.
A statement from 412 Food Rescue claims that one in seven people in the US go hungry, while 40 percent of food produced here gets thrown out. Food Rescue Hero means to address that imbalance by mobilizing volunteers to direct food away from landfills and into places where it will do the most good.
Developed by 412 Food Rescue’s technology board—which includes Sachal Lakhavani of the new tech company Srvd and chief engineer Ameesh Kapoor, who also serves as the vice president of GlamSquad—Food Rescue Hero works by allowing volunteers to search and select donation opportunities near them. They can then pick up and deliver the food on foot, or by using their own vehicles or bikes. 412 Food Rescue also partnered with Zipcar to provide rescuers with free rides if necessary.
The model takes the burden of picking up donations off the nonprofits that receive them.
Lizarondo adds that the app is the first phase of FoodRescueX, a technology platform “designed to support retail food recovery in urban areas.” The system is expected to provide services such as food safety training for volunteers, inventory tracking, and tools that measure the environmental impact and track tax deductions for donors.
412 Food Rescue plans to launch FoodRescueX in 2017.
“The platform will be integral in scaling our operations and replicating our model nationally,” says Lizarondo, who intends to make FoodRescueX available to nonprofits in other cities.
While the app is only available for volunteers, Lizarondo says they plan on also releasing an interface for 412 Food Rescue food donor partners and recipients next year.