The stats are in: The Democratic National Convention helped people experiencing hunger.
We’re not talking about the party platform, or any reforms that were pledged. We’re talking real, physical food delivered to those who need it most.
During DNC week, more than 11,200 lbs. of food were donated via Food Connect, the “Uber for leftovers” developed by the mayor’s office in conjunction with all the major Philadelphia anti-hunger organizations. That’s more than 9,300 meals, per Feeding America’s formula (1.2 lbs. = 1 meal), which comes out to around two meals for every single delegate on the convention floor.
The app, which allowed restaurants and event planners to easily request a pickup of excess food, was downloaded 291 times (233 on iOS and 58 on Android). Their goods were distributed to dozens of pantries, shelters and food banks across the city, including 79 that hadn’t previously been on Food Connect’s recipient list, but expressed interest after “DNC Operation Food Rescue” was announced.
Donations averaged around 50 lbs., and came from kitchens of various size and type.
Donors included independent restaurants, such as Germantown soul food staple Relish, hoagie stop Paesano’s, dessert house Cake Life Bake Shop and various venues from the Garces Group. There were also larger companies, like Lundy Catering and Temple University, as well as producers like New Jersey’s HomeGrown Farms and Campbell’s Soup.
Word about the app spread quickly, according to Philabundance spokesperson Stefanie Arck-Baynes. By the end of the convention, representatives from something like 7 to 10 other cities had made inquiries into Food Connect, requesting advice or help in setting up similar services in their hometowns.
Just because the DNC is over doesn’t mean the app has disappeared. In fact, Arck-Baynes says some of the city’s larger restaurant organizations, like Starr and Garces Group, have expressed interest in working out long-term partnerships with Food Connect.
But remember, you don’t have to be a bigwig to help out. If you’re stuck with leftover food from a professionally catered event or party (or know someone who is), and that food meets the acceptable guidelines for donation, download the app and tap your way to feeding Philadelphians in need.