Considering that a whopping 40 percent of food in America becomes waste, it seems outright ridiculous that restaurants commonly throw out excess food. Recognizing the severity of the issues of waste and food insecurity in America, a group of out-of-the-box thinkers known as Not Impossible Labs set out to create a way for restaurants to share their excess food.
For those who don’t know where their next meal will come from, this simple platform allows them to access food in a discrete way. The platform is entirely text-message-based and simply requires that a person in need text the word “Hungry” – no app is needed. That person is then provided a list of nearby restaurants and meals to choose from. They can then place an order and pick up their food, all for free.
Mercedes Chucho, a mother and college student who uses the platform when low on food, says the options are often within walking distance for her. “This program gave me hope,” she says.
The choices the platform provides its users, along with its discretion, are injecting compassion and humanity into this charitable, but sometimes, demeaning process. Users get to choose a meal from familiar restaurants in their neighborhood and pick it up alongside other carry-out orders.
This unique model has drawn the attention and support of several national restaurant chains, organizations, and celebrities. Subway, Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Panda Express are among the group of franchises joining the project to provide free meals.