CHICAGO—MealConnect, Feeding America’s digital platform, is launching a campaign to bring awareness to food rescue efforts. Feeding America created the Meal Connect program to make it easier to donate food to community agencies and food banks.
The campaign presents a call to action for food retailers to donate surplus food items through MealConnect’s convenient process as the platform nears a milestone of 3 billion pounds of rescued food, which translates to approximately 2.5 billion meals. Launched in 2017 by Feeding America, MealConnect has connected retailers with 10,200 nonprofit partners to coordinate more than 7.2 million pickups to date.
“Reaching 3 billion pounds of food rescued through MealConnect is a testament to the progress that’s been made. However, it’s only a fraction of the consumable, good food that is wasted every year,” said Tony Pupillo, managing director of retail food industry partnerships at Feeding America, in a press release. “Through our new campaign, we’re hoping to reach more independent retailers to show how easy it is to conduct ongoing food rescue through MealConnect, work with their community to nourish their neighbors facing hunger and reduce food insecurity.”
MealConnect’s process includes several steps:
- Retailers share surplus food items to the platform using a mobile device or desktop PC to initiate the donation
- Then MealConnect’s algorithm offers the donation to community food banks and pantries
- Once a food bank or pantry accepts, the retailer receives an email confirming the pickup time.
The local Feeding America food bank is on call to support and ensure everything is handled safely and quickly. Retailers that use MealConnect also receive support in the form of a tax benefit calculator and food donation safety guidelines.
“MealConnect makes it easy to donate that food to folks who need it the most,” said Jordan Troyer, owner of Troyer's at Mountain View Country Market in Limestone, Tenn. “Every food business thinks about reducing waste. Whether you’re a small restaurant or a large-scale operation, at the end of the day you have wholesome surplus food that could go to people in need.”
Convenience retailers have long been involved with meal and food giveaways and donations to support organizations like Feeding America to fight food insecurity in their communities.
If your company is already working with MealConnect to fight food waste, you can tell the story to your customers in-store and on social media with these editable downloads. For more information, download the MealConnect one-pager (PDF).