The City of Brotherly Love indeed.
Philadelphia’s hunger-fighting organizations have teamed up to develop an app that makes donating leftover food from the Democratic National Convention to those in need a piece of cake.
The app, called Food Connect, helps match restaurants, hotels, caterers and other local companies with excess food with Philly-based pantries and shelters.
The app's first big roll out will be in conjunction with the convention, but will remain active after the DNC is over so it can continue to service the city.
“The app was created to streamline the process,” Megha Kulshreshtha, the founder of Food Connect told The Huffington Post. “We’ve all pooled together to divert food waste from a central access point, which is the app.”
To use the app, a donor selects the option to give and enters a location. The info is then shared with a volunteer driver who will pick up the food and deliver it to a local emergency meal site, food pantry, food bank or community shelter.
Users have the option to remain anonymous and can select a specific local organization they’d like to donate to.
The idea to team up to create the Food Connect app was a reaction to the 50,000 attendees the convention is projected to attract.
“After Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia last year, the city saw thousands of pounds of fresh edible food go to waste,”Kulshreshtha said. “The more people coming into the city, the more chances of food going to waste.”
Kulshreshtha founded Food Connect in 2014 as a small-scale, food rescue operation with 10 to 15 volunteers. In late 2015, she started developing an app for Food Connect that would make food delivery and pickup easier. When other local organizations — like the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, Philabundance and SHARE Food Program — caught wind of her prototype, they decided to collaborate together on the app in order to tackle the issue of food waste at the DNC.
As to how much food they think they’ll reclaim, Kulshreshtha said it’s out of their hands.
“There seems to be a lot of interest from donors to use the app but it’s hard to say how many will donate until the events start and surplus food becomes available,” Kulshreshtha said. “In that sense, the ball is in the donor’s court and we hope they will choose to donate their surplus food instead of throwing it away.”