SO what’s the big deal? You’ve heard of food rescue programs before. Perhaps you even donated tins of canned vegetables to your school’s food drive. Or maybe on Thanksgiving your family volunteered at a nearby soup kitchen. So where does Unsung come in?
We begin with our frustration of America’s food waste problem.
Every year, while more than 45 million don’t know where their next meal comes from, we throw away 40% of the food we produce. Grocery stores, restaurants, catering services, and private households throw away perfectly good food every day.
Perhaps a grocery store is restocking the shelves with newly shipped in items, a restaurant cooked more than was ordered, or your family realizes no one is going to eat that fruitcake you’ve been saving since Christmas. And this wasted food isn’t just bad because it’s not feeding people, but it also contributes to environmental harm when excess food is a garnish to our landfills creating harmful methane gases.
How can this massive food waste be used to feed the 49 million people who are hungry?
If you are geeks like us, perhaps you’d start looking towards companies like Uber and Airbnb who have solved information asymmetries already. Uber matches drivers with extra seats to people who need a ride. Airbnb matches hosts who aren’t using their home to a traveler looking to spend a few evenings as a local in your town. These companies compete with taxis and hotels, not through buying a fleet of cars or properties, but simply by creating a market of information. And through using ever evolving reputation systems, these sharing economy companies have solved the “stranger danger” problem that prevented these solutions from becoming popular earlier (I mean seriously, if you were to get a ride in NYC, would you prefer Uber or some dude off Craigslist?). So if we can use reputation systems to solve stranger danger, and information systems to travel in ease…
….can’t we use these same strategies to empower local communities to solve hunger?
This is where we begin. We are trying to create a sharing that empowers volunteers to deliver excess food to hungry people in their community. We believe that by making “doing good” easy, more people will want to “do good”. If we simplify the setup for food providers to donate excess food and empower local unsung heroes to fight hunger, I think we’d all be surprised what that collective goodwill amounts too.
Read original article here.