MealConnect A New Tool to Get Fresh Prepared Food to Pantries
Volunteers in the kitchen at St. Vincent DePaul Food Mission were busy organizing and refrigerating 48 large trays filled with cooked food Oct. 21st, a Monday. The supplemental, prepared food arrived from volunteers who picked up the excess food from the weekend’s two-day Mempho Music Festival at Shelby Farms Park.
The food, ranging from fried chicken, to burgers, to bacon, to country ham is “fantastic,” said St. Vincent volunteer Suzanne Busby.
Added spouse and fellow volunteer Larry: “It’s a God-send. It’s great in that, first of all, it’s food that won’t be wasted. Secondly, it’s going to a food mission that will directly assist people who need help.”
The Mid-South Food Bank Partner Agency on the outskirts of the medical district serves the homeless one meal every day of the year. On this day it had finished serving 307 visitors. Suzanne predicted that the donation would be entirely distributed over the next three days.
The food delivered from the festival would typically be discarded, but was instead stored properly and safely until volunteers from the Mid-South Food Bank Resource Redistribution Mission picked up the trays of food and transported them to St. Vincent. It marks the first time that a new food rescue program has been tested in the Mid-South.
How It Works
A Feeding America app called MealConnect enables participating restaurants, event caterers and other food service organizations to snap a photo of excess prepared food and download it on the app. Volunteers who share the app on their cellular devices are immediately notified and can optionally respond to transport the available food to a Mid-South Food Bank Partner Agency that serves hot meals.
Prospective volunteers wanting to help must first have food safe-handling orientation. Thanks to a grant from Walmart supporting the program, volunteers will next receive freezer blankets and other accessory equipment to use in transporting the food designated for donation.
For more information contact Robert Onstad at 901- 527-0841 Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org To learn more visit: www.midsouthfoodbank.org/meal-connect