This is a guest post by Patrick O’Neill, CEO and Founder of Amp Your Good.
Nearly all of us are familiar with the good old fashioned food drive. Most of us have donated canned or boxed goods at one time or another – to a drive sponsored by our company, our church, our school or some other organization we are connected with. In fact, in the US, people make billions and billions of food donations each year, making it one of the most popular forms of giving. All of those food donations have one thing in common – they are non-perishable. They need to be because they are going to sit in a collection box for awhile before they get to help someone.
Amp Your Good has reinvented how food drives work with an online giving model called Crowd-feeding. Organizations use our crowd-feeding website to run their food drives. People who want to support a drive do it by purchasing the food they want to donate right at our website. We deliver the food for them directly to the food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen they are supporting. There’s no collection box so no chance of food donations spoiling.
And that means something radical – it means that instead of donating non-perishable food, people can donate perishable food – REAL Food – fruits and vegetables, whole meals and other healthy food. It means organizations can sponsor REAL Food drives with very specific goals – to raise organic food, locally grown produce, restaurant quality food and other types of REAL food. It also means that food drives can be used to support other good causes – things like local farming, reducing food waste or protecting the environment.
But most of all, it means that food drives can be used to ensure that people struggling with hunger get the food they really need. It’s a sad fact that the rates of diet related disease and conditions among the 50 Million people (US) facing hunger are astronomical – diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer are rampant. While there are many contributing factors, lack of access to healthy food is the biggest one. REAL Food Drives can help move the dial on this problem in a big way.
Traditional food drives have a long history and reflect the deep interest people have in helping those struggling with tough times. But, as they say, “The times, they are a-changin.” There is a huge shift in people’s food preferences towards healthier food coupled with incredibly fast growing demand of food that can be purchased online. We developed Crowd-feeding to leverage these trends for the benefit of those facing hunger. Crowd-feeding enables everyone to amplify their good intentions so that food drives and food donations can have the best impact.
So, what the heck is a REAL Food Drive? It’s a food drive that’s cool. It’s cool because it’s environmentally friendly, healthy, easy and convenient. It’s cool because it can be organic, it can support local farming, it can be vegan. It’s cool because it’s transparent, smart and it’s social. But most of all, it’s cool because it gets the right kind of food to the people who really need it. It raises the kind of food you can stick a fork in.
If your organization is planning a food drive or the next time you’re planning to donate to one, make it REAL.
Patrick O’Neill is the CEO and Founder of Amp Your Good. Amp’s pioneering crowd-feeding platform enables people and organizations to Amplify their impact in the fight against hunger by raising perishable food – REAL food – via online food drives. Amp’s vision is to turn the billions of canned goods donated to food drives each year into billions of apples, carrots, bananas, sweet potatoes, fresh greens, whole meals and other healthy food items. Pat can be reached at [email protected] or @poneill1982.