Get Ready! This summer, restaurants, grocers, farmers, caterers, and other food businesses with surplus food to donate will be able to easily find hunger relief organizations that will gladly receive donated food.
Community Food Rescue will launch its free automated Web app, called Chow Match, powered by the Peninsula Food Runners, a non-profit food recovery organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s the Uber of food recovery.
“We’re very excited to bring this auto-matching software to Montgomery County”, Kevin Trostle, Manna Food Center’s Director of Operations, said. The app has been in operation in the Bay Area for more than a year and matches 30,000 meals every week! While our partner organizations recover and redistribute food to people experiencing hunger every day here in Montgomery County, the Web app will make matches easier. CFR’s volunteer food runners will make it possible to move smaller quantities of food all around the county more efficiently.”
In anticipation of launching our new Web-based app, CFR has “primed the pump” by attracting new food recovery participants. Five organizations and businesses have been busy recruiting for CFR over the last three months. Thanks to Bethesda Green, Central Farm Markets, Olney Farmers Market, Montgomery Countryside Alliance, and Rainbow Community Development Center, we now have 53 new food donors, 21 new recipient organizations, and 32 volunteer food runners ready to log on as soon as the Web app is ready. For donors that already have established relationships with hunger relief organizations, the Web app will record and auto-match these on-going relationships.
The app’s algorithms match donors, recipient organizations, and volunteers based on several criteria, including type of food–such as fresh produce, dairy and other refrigerated foods, prepared foods, canned and packaged foods, and frozen foods. Other matching criteria include quantity of food, timing of pick-up, and location. A food run starts when a donor posts a food donation. The Web app will match it with a recipient organization and, if needed, an alert will go out to volunteer food runners, according to their preferred timing and location. The first volunteer to respond gets the food run. After a food run, all three participants complete a short Yelp-type evaluation to rate their experience.
The free CFR matching service is available to any Montgomery County licensed food business with food to donate, non-profit hunger relief organizations, and volunteers with good driving records and a few extra hours. Sign up HERE and we’ll send you more details. For those of you who have already signed up to participate, you’ll be getting details soon about how to get ready to use CFR’s matching app.
The Web app will launch at the end of August, and a mobile app version will launch in November.