FeedKC, a project of student organization UMKC Enactus, has released a new web application to eliminate food waste and hunger by redistributing food to those who need it. Through the app, businesses can post leftover food that food banks can then claim and pick up.
“We have been working on our web application for a few months to ensure the sustainability of our project, and are incredibly proud that it came out before this pandemic started so that we can practice a more safe and easy way to get food from businesses and restaurants to food banks,” project leader Caitlin Easter said.
The app was launched just in time to begin helping with food problems brought on by the pandemic, and FeedKC is able to continue operating while complying with CDC guidelines.
“We decided to find the opportunity in this tragedy to help people who were losing their jobs,” Easter said. “All we could do was make the best out of a bad situation, and with local businesses sadly shutting down, we are attempting to intercept that food so it isn’t wasted.”
“Right after we found out that restaurants were shut down, there was an initial moment of panic, but then we were able to see the good we could do in our community despite the global pandemic happening,” Easter said. “We didn’t stop operating, but instead continue reaching out to businesses with the hope to onboard them on the app to divert excess food to those in need.”
After the initial closures due to city orders, the team said businesses had a lot of food to donate. Now, less food is available for them to redistribute, but there is a higher demand for food from food banks. Easter said businesses have also been less responsive.
FeedKC’s app has allowed them to continue to operate during the pandemic, but the lockdown has posed other challenges for the team.
“One of the hardest things is sitting back and not playing as active of a role anymore now that the app has launched,” Easter said. “Due to COVID-19, we have had to change how we operate, and it is harder to get together to troubleshoot problems due to only being able to use virtual meetings.”
Anyone looking to get involved and help eliminate food waste can join the project and help the team plan and direct FeedKC and the app. People can also help by getting more businesses connected to FeedKC.
“It is important that FeedKC continues to run because there is an increasing number of people who are out of work and have no food,” Easter said.