Pittsburgh Girl’s Meals Rescue app diverts £ 20 million surplus into 17 million meals for these in want

In a recent episode of the Chopped Food Network competition, participants were asked to prepare a dish from a basket using random ingredients such as bacon, mangoes, and banana bread. Imagine the same challenge, except that the basket has been replaced with 1,000 pounds of discarded food.

Photo from Sri Lanka

This was the challenge faced by the Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue. They had contacted hundreds of local businesses and discovered that hundreds of pounds of good surplus groceries were available for donation every day. And with its own app, the group had created the largest volunteer-run food transport network in a single urban region.

But there was no kitchen in the region that could take the really big gifts from large donors and turn them into individual portions.

In 2019 the organization found a solution by opening its own kitchen, the Good Food Project. The kitchen pays no money for groceries and does not generate any waste. It is a model for effective recovery and distribution of food.

Food waste makes up about 25% of all landfill material – more than any other single source of waste – and when it rots, it is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Good Food Project avoids waste by turning food that could end up in the landfill into healthy, heat-resistant meals and long-life products that are packaged in compostable containers. These meals are then distributed to nonprofit partners who serve those in need.

The donations come from partners like Gordon Food Service, who have food that is still good to eat but cannot be sold due to aesthetic standards, sales deadlines, or transportation accidents.

TIED TOGETHER: 13-year-old boy who received a “Make-A-Wish” uses it to feed the homeless every month for a year

Donations from the Good Food Project – by Patrick Hogan / 412 Food Rescue

The greatest food hero

Leah Lizarondo launched 412FoodRescue.org in 2015 to redirect food from the waste stream directly to households and nonprofits. To create this central connection, she created an app that offers volunteers pick-up and delivery locations so they can jump in their car and bridge the gap between the excess food and what it needs.

The FoodRescueHero app is now used by a growing team of over 13,000 volunteer drivers in 15 cities.

Together with 800 grocery retailers, they have turned more than £ 20 million surplus into nearly 17 million meals – and shed more than £ 11 million. of CO2.

TIED TOGETHER: Charity is rescuing so much food from the landfill that they are opening a grocery store where tons of products can be shared

Her kitchen in Millvale, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, has now produced over 17,000 meals and currently prepares over 600 meals a week – all at no cost for groceries.

While the kitchen – which is solar powered to offset energy consumption – has increased its reach, it has also reduced its waste – down to zero. The project stabilizes and uses every gram of food it can, and the rest is composted.

LOOK: With the app you can buy leftover food from your favorite restaurants – and save 150,000 meals a day worldwide

Good Food Project volunteers cook – 412 Food Rescu

The kitchen project is just the latest in the garrison of good news that emanates from Leah’s determination to solve three problems at once – food waste, food insecurity, and the climate crisis.

SEE her video through her volunteer app to see heroes being born …

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