Helping Bergen County’s Food Pantries? There’s an App for That.
RIDGEWOOD, NJ – Bergen County’s volunteers can now help fight food insecurity and food waste, all with the help of an app.
Table to Table, a food rescue program, takes food that would otherwise be discarded by restaurants and grocery stores and delivers them to those in need all over North Jersey. Usually, this process involves paid drivers that deliver roughly 5,000 pounds of food at a time, but now volunteers can help with the Table to Table I-Rescue app.
“It involves volunteers in a way in which we’ve never engaged with before,” Julie Kinner, Director of Recipient Relations & Community Affairs of Table to Table said. “They connect with the donors – which is a gift, because then the donors see how thankful they are and how excited they are – and then they connect with the recipient agencies, and the volunteers really get thanked and they get to see that this food is going to good use.”
To help, volunteers download the app and answer questions regarding the area in which they live and the type of vehicle they have. They are also given the option to help with weekly pick-ups and drop-offs if there are any available, or if they would rather just make irregular rescues as they come up. Those who choose a weekly rescue can still request a sub through the app if they are not able to help one week.
Table to Table I-Rescue is able to connect about 100 volunteers to roughly 35 recipient agencies, which has resulted in the redistribution of almost 10,000 pounds of food since the app’s launch at the end of April. Kinner says the organization is extremely happy with the app’s results, and they are on track to meet their goals.
Table to Table has been delivering healthy, high-quality produce and meals to facilities for years by the truckload, but I-Rescue allows the smaller loads to be rescued as well.
“They’re picking up food at the stores, from places like Whole Foods in Ridgewood or Sweetgreen in Hackensack, and they’re bringing it directly to places like Children’s Aid and Family Services.”
As of right now, the app is only available for Bergen County rescues, but Kinner said they are looking to expand in the future.
“A lot of times these agencies aren’t used to receiving hot meals and things like that,” she said. “It’s a powerful gift.”
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