Image Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/
Since its launch in March 2015, Pittsburgh-based 412 Food Rescue has saved 20 million pounds of food throughout the region via the work of its thousands of volunteers across its Food Rescue Hero platform.
“I’m so grateful to the city of Pittsburgh,” 412 co-founder and CEO Leah Lizarondo said in an email statement to the Business Times. “Our volunteers here have demonstrated just how powerful we are when we work together. They are spearheading a movement that is already reaching across the country, changing the way we approach food waste and hunger.”
The startup works with 800 food retailers and 600 nonprofit partners locally to redirect excess food from restaurants and grocery stores so that it can then be served to those who are facing food insecurity. These participating organizations can use the 412 Food Rescue app to alert nearby volunteers of the excess food that they have, which would otherwise be thrown away. Similar to how ride-hailing drivers accept and pick up passengers, 412 Food Rescue volunteers can also use the app to be notified when a local organization with excess food is in need of it being delivered to one of 412 Food Rescue’s partnering organizations that help those who are in need of food.
412 Food Rescue’s 20 million pounds of saved food equates to more than 16 million meals served, the organization said. According to Lizarondo, the organization has now saved 68 million pounds of food throughout its network, which spans 13 cities, since its launch.
The news comes after a series of significant developments for the organization over the past year. It reported a record of new app downloads in 2020 following the onset of the pandemic and an increase in food insecurity throughout the region following widespread layoffs due to government actions that shuttered all nonessential businesses. In April of 2020, business publication Fast Company awarded 412 Food Rescue’s app with one of its World Changing Ideas Award, winning first-place in the App category and placing as a finalist in the Food category.