Food Rescue Hero: A Tech Leap in Saving Food and Ending Hunger

February 18, 2021

Jessi Marsh | Food Rescue Hero

At Food Rescue Hero (recently featured in The Washington Post) we are passionate about rescuing perfectly good food that would otherwise have ended up in the landfill and redirecting it to people facing food insecurity. We care deeply about this issue because wasting food is wrong, because our planet cannot thrive if we continue to waste food, and especially because our neighbors do not have enough good food to eat. Food rescue, as a strategy to reduce food waste and end hunger removes barriers that make obtaining food difficult for those who need it most – barriers like pantries with limited locations and hours of operation. Food rescue gets food as close as we can, right to where people facing food insecurity live.

Food Rescue Hero is a technology platform that enables hunger relief organizations to launch and scale food recovery. Focusing on the logistical challenges of retail food recovery, Food Rescue Hero addresses food waste, food insecurity and climate change through technology-coordinated, community-powered networks. Through the app, volunteer drivers are alerted when surplus food is available nearby to be picked up and delivered to a household in need or nonprofit serving people experiencing food insecurity.

Since its launch in 2016, the Food Rescue Hero app has redirected more than 41 million pounds of perfectly good food and mitigated more than 21 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Food Rescue Hero was piloted in Pittsburgh, powering 412 Food Rescue, and now measurably impacts food insecurity with 10 partners operating in 12 cities across North America.

In support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2, 12 and 13, the goal of Food Rescue Hero is to scale food recovery in 100 cities by 2030.

Currently, we partner with some incredible food rescue organizations that utilize our Food Rescue Hero platform in the following US and Canadian cities:  Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Prince William County (VA,) Vancouver (BC,) Cincinnati, New Haven (CT,) and Bergen County (NJ.)  Our network has performed over 162,000 rescues resulting in over 36.3 million meals.

When we first began approaching food rescue, utilizing technology and the community-driven power of volunteers, some expressed skepticism that unpaid individuals would step up to meet the need and follow through. With a less than 1% missed rescue rate five years later, we are incredibly grateful to our 18,000+ volunteers  – the largest network of on-demand volunteer drivers in the world – who stand at the ready, coast to coast, to rescue the next box of bananas, case of dairy or carton of eggs.  We believe that people are wired to help – we just need to give them the opportunity.  

Food Rescue Hero was recognized by Fast Company as a World Changing Idea in 2020. Our Founder and CEO, Leah Lizarondo was honored as a Global Leadership Awardee by Vital Voices late last year.

You can learn more about the Food Rescue Hero platform on our website.