Matching Web App FAQs

Q: How does the matching Web app work?

The Web app is an automated, online matching system with pre-programmed algorithms. The matches are based on the participants’ profiles. Any licensed Montgomery County food business can donate food, any hunger relief organization with a Federal Tax ID can receive food, and volunteers can participate as food runners. The matching criteria includes: types of food, quantity, proximity, timing availability, and transportation capacity. The software aggregates metrics so that we can report how much food is recovered. The Web app, called Chow Match, is powered by Peninsula Food Runners, which currently matches 30,000 meals per week in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Q: We have been operating autonomously throughout the county, and I am trying to weigh the pros and cons for a small hunger relief organization. What are the advantages of using CFR’s Web app?

  • Recipients receive more food and new types of food to supply to community members in need by matching with new donors through the Web-based app.
  • Recipients receive a free tool-kit of supplies, as well as information about how to rescue food safely.
  • Recipients receive free training for staff and volunteers on basic safe food handling.
  • Enhance your organization’s capacity to pick up donated food with CFR volunteer food runners. .
  • Participants decrease the amount of food that is wasted.
  • Participants increase your business or organization’s visibility by being part of CFR as the county’s designated food recovery system and receiving CFR recognition.
  • Participants contribute to the aggregated total of food recovered in Montgomery County.
  • As part of a county-wide food recovery system, you can learn from, and be supported by, your peers.
  • Non-profits may be eligible to receive future mini-grants to build organizational capacity to recover food.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to using CFR’s Web app instead of recovering food the way I do now? There are no real disadvantages. It just takes about 5 minutes for each participant to set up an initial profile. Donors spend an initial few minutes posting their regular donations (one time) and then can post one-time donations (each time). All participants spend about 5 minutes or less after each food run signing for the food run, rating their experience and updating the amount received.

SIGNING UP

Q: How do current food donors, food recipient organizations, and volunteers sign on to the CFR system? Is there a cost?

Join the CFR Network as a food donor business, food assistance organization, or volunteer food runner. Click HERE to register and start using Community Food Rescue’s Free matching Web application.

CFR’s matching tool is now a free mobile app.

Once you’ve signed up for your CFR  web application account, download the companion Chow Match on Google Play store (Android) or Apple Store (I-phones).

Q: What are the requirements to be a member of the CFR system?

  • Food donors must be Montgomery County licensed food businesses in good standing.
  • Food recipient organizations must be non-profit organizations with a Federal Tax ID or EIN; not ad hoc or casual groups.
  • All participants must sign up on the website and use it to post donations, receive donations, and/or volunteer. All volunteers must follow the CFR safe food handling guidelines, as vetted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) posted on the CFR website.
  • Volunteer food runners must review food safety guidelines and take a self-test to insure they know how to handle and transport food safely.
  • Volunteer food runners must have good driving records and sign the volunteer agreement when registering.
  • All participants are asked to share their rescue success stories, photos, and content for newsletter articles to help strengthen the collective effort of CFR as a whole.
  • All organizations are asked to promote your group’s participation as a member of CFR within your networks by using our network, linking our publicity and information to your communication channels, and promoting events and opportunities to your networks.

Q: How long does it take to complete registration for each type of registrant (donor, recipient, and food runner)? What information is required to complete a profile?

  • We estimate about 5 minutes for each participant to create a login and complete their profile. Recipients will list their Federal Tax ID number. Volunteer food runners will review CFR’s food safety guidelines, watch a 5 minute video and take a multiple choice quiz and pass with 80% or better.

Q: Can recipients sign up their donors? No, donors must create their own login and profile and post their donations.

MATCHING

Q: Our hunger relief organization currently recovers food from several food businesses. How will CFR honor established relationships? If a recipient organization recruits more food donors, how can they join CFR and use the Web app?

  • When donors post their donation, they have the option of naming their recipient organization(s). The software will rotate matches among all the named recipient organizations.

Q: What’s the sequence of matchmaking and scheduling a food run?

  • When a donor schedules a food donation run, the app automatically matches a recipient based on profiles. An email/text notification will only go to the recipient. Then an email will go out to all the volunteers whose profiles match the proximity of the donor. When a scheduled food run has been assigned, the donor, recipient, and volunteer will be notified with one another’s contact information.

Q: If recipients don’t want a particular food type (e.g., bread and pastries) can they specify this in their profile? Yes, recipients check off food types they can receive. The recipients need to know that by eliminating categories, they reduce opportunities for receiving donations. For example, if a recipient organization doesn’t want bread or pastry, and the donor has bread along with other types of food, the matching program is more likely to match the donation with another organization that is willing to accept all food types.

Q: Is there a minimum donation? Yes, it is 10 meals or 12 lbs. We encourage donors to aggregate and freeze amounts less than that and schedule a donation when they achieve this minimum.

Q: What if the recipient organization is on vacation or the refrigerator breaks down and they can’t take delivery for a period of time? Recipients can inactivate their account at any time and then reactive when they can resume accepting donations.

Q: What’s the timing between when a match is made and a food run is fulfilled? In other words, how much time does a recipient have to reject a food run? The recipient organization gets notified of a scheduled food run as soon as the volunteer accepts the run. The recipient will automatically receive the donation that has been matched to the categories, amount, and timing in their profile. If the recipient is unable to accept that particular donation, she/he must email the administrator asap Cheryl@communityfoodrescue.org  so that the donation can be redirected and not wasted.

FOOD RUNS

Q: Can a recipient organization request a volunteer food runner, but if no volunteer claims the run, can the organization still get the donation by picking it themselves? The recipient organization’s individuals can sign up as volunteer food runners. They will be able to see if a food run is claimed by a volunteer first, and if not, they can claim the food run and get it themselves.

Q: What happens if a donation is not picked up? What happens if a donation is offered late at night, and no one responds? The donor is advised to chill or freeze and store the donation until the next day, and post it again as a new donation. The donor can also choose to take it to the recipient themselves.

AGGREGATED INFORMATION ON RESCUED FOOD

Q: How is the amount of food that is donated recorded?

  • Food donations are entered by food donors when they schedule a food run. For regular, repeated runs with similar quantities and types of foods, donation information is entered one time and metrics are automatically captured about each run.
  • If food is donated as a one-time run, food donors post the types of food and quantities of each. Food run information is aggregated and includes food donor, food recipient, type of food, and quantity.
  • Both donors and recipients can update the amount of food donated after the run.
  • The administrator can run reports on the aggregated information.

Q: How can participants obtain information about how much food was donated/received? Can a CFR participant make their own food reports?

  • CFR administrators will run aggregated reports upon request from any participant.

POST FOOD RUN TASKS

Q: What are post-delivery tasks, and how long does it take for participants to complete them?

Participants are asked to complete these quick steps in their account after a food run either from their computer or on their smart phone  (after downloading the mobile app):

  • Donors and Recipients must electronically sign that food has been donated/received according to CFR food safety guidelines;
  • Donors and Recipients are asked to update the amount of food donated if it is different than the amount listed on the original donation.
  • CFR wants each food run experience to be a good one, so we ask each participant to rate the experience, similar to a Yelp-type rating. This feedback will benefit all participants and CFR as a system.

Q: What is the plan to get the word out about CFR’s matching tool to participants?

  • We ask for your help to spread the word about donating, receiving, or volunteering using CFR’s matching tool.

If you have additional questions, please send them to Cheryl Kollin, program director, cheryl@communityfoodrescue.org, and we will continue to update these FAQs. Thanks!

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