Connecting state and local government leaders
Government and nonprofits are working together to identify predictable sources of surplus food.
A new public-private partnership, Feeding Silicon Valley, is diverting surplus food from landfills to homeless shelters using an app to connect vendors with nonprofits in and around San Jose, California.
There are about 204 million missing meals in Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, according to the 2012 Hunger Index, one in four people experiencing food insecurity in the former.
Through the web- and mobile-based app Waste No Food —designed by Silicon Valley teenager and executive director Kiran Sridhar—grocery stores, cafeterias, restaurants, hotels and farms post what excess food they have and verified aid groups claim what they need.
“With our partnership with Waste No Food and Silicon Valley, the quality and the abundance of the food we get through them has increased,” Daniel Guhl, director of the Salvation Army’s Emmanuel House, says in the partnership’s launch video . “We’ve had so many donations in one week we didn’t have to buy any groceries at all, with all that we don’t spend on meals going back into programs.”
The Waste No Food app sends push notifications keeping charities in the loop about upcoming food donations, which are then listed.
Among the food sources are some big providers like the San Francisco 49ers, who serve 70,000 fans on gameday and have no shortage of leftovers.
Other partners include Team San Jose and Martha’s Kitchen , and all are tracked so the safe handling of food is ensured and liability reduced. Organizations are ultimately responsible for food pickups.
The Silicon Valley Talent Partnership , created in part by former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, spearheaded the Feeding Silicon Valley initiative and, if the name is any indication, it’s looking to scale its efforts valleywide.
The administration of San Jose’s current mayor, Sam Liccardo, committed another $80,000 to keeping SVTP going in fiscal year 2015-16.
“It’s a great day set against the backdrop of something of a tragedy that we have to talk about hunger,” Liccardo said at launch last week. “We have to talk about homelessness, in a valley that’s as wealthy as Silicon Valley with all the prosperity and affluence that we have.”
Dave Nyczepir is News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.