RLC rescues food that would otherwise be wasted to feed the hungry through the use of technology. RLC was founded in 2013 to target a niche gap that was not being serviced by the larger existing organizations such as City Harvest because they have minimum pound requirements where they will not go by for food donations below 150 lbs of food. RLC services food businesses and corporations that want to donate food but have less food waste to donate. RLC has no minimum requirement.
RLC fills the gap between hunger and food waste by localizing the issues into sets of communities that can help sustain themselves. We use an innovative and efficient method of crowdsourcing the transportation to the public as volunteers through a web-only application coded on Ruby on Rails. After identifying the human service agencies like homeless shelters of a needy community, we proactively find food businesses and corporations with excess food in that vicinity that could help support these disadvantaged communities. We leverage technology to facilitate the identification and handling of excess food. Thus, partner food providers report when excess food is occurring and our web application is used to engage community members, because volunteering with us can be as easy as taking a brisk walk. As volunteers rescue food along the way home from work or to class, RLC does not use trucks and vans and is able to contribute to less greenhouse gases during our food rescues, achieving low carbon food in cities.
The efficient method approach of crowdsourced transportation allows for RLC’s cost per pound efficiency to be industry leading, at $0.1/pound versus $0.25/pound average across other food rescue organizations. RLC’s model is thus highly scalable and has expanded to over 12 cities across the US. Since inception, RLC has already rescued over 4 million pounds of food, serving more than 3.3 million meals to hungry individuals.
Our food donations help provide diverse and healthy meal choices to hungry individuals. Not only do our food rescues help reduce hunger, we are also able to provide the access to vital nutrients for hungry individuals to prevent malnutrition or other food related illnesses. Our food rescues help extend and improve the efficiency of the food supply chain by distributing excess food to human service agencies, reducing food waste (40% of food is wasted in USA) while feeding the hungry (1 in 7 Americans are food insecure).