Food Banks Introduce Online Ordering
Feeding America operates a nationwide network of food banks to help those facing hunger get the food assistance they need. It started 40 years ago, and it now prides itself as being “the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.” Operating 200 food banks across the United States, it feeds nearly 40 million people today—including children and senior citizens. This model, while incredibly effective and important, also required those in need to visit a food bank in person, which could sadly lead to feelings of shame or embarrassment. To address this, Feeding America has recently gotten a technology-assisted upgrade: Online ordering.
The idea is simple. Create an online platform that lets people order groceries through a Feeding America foodbank or partner organization from any device—be it a phone, tablet, or computer. Food can then be picked up from any number of locations, including schools, libraries, or drive-thru centers. Some areas are even offering home delivery services. According to the Feeding America Press Room, “OrderAhead expands access to charitable food through a discreet and convenient click-and-collect grocery ordering system that reduces the physical and social barriers encountered by neighbors facing food insecurity.”
How does it work? The new ordering system, called OrderAhead, offers the ease and privacy those in need of food assistance may be seeking. When folks access the website, they’re able to choose a pick-up time and location before shopping the groceries that are in stock that week. Then they create an account or log in to place their order. When all that is complete, a confirmation and pick-up reminder will be sent. The no-frills website is simple to navigate, making it especially seamless for those who may not be as technologically savvy. Making it as easy as possible to get food to those in need is paramount to ending hunger in this country, and Order Ahead is paving the way. A program pilot was launched just a year ago in October 2020; now, OrderAhead is on track to expand to an additional 20 food banks across the nation. Since its initial launch, 11 food banks and 18 distribution locations have assisted almost 15,000 folks experiencing food insecurity. That’s over 9,000 online grocery orders – and counting. Supporting OrderAhead are The Humana Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.
Technology is always changing the way we navigate our day-to-day, and it’s no different in the restaurant industry. This new innovation for those experiencing hunger is truly remarkable and will hopefully make a positive impact on many, many more folks in need. Be sure to check back with ARF Financial’s blog, the Financial Pantry, for the latest news and updates on all things small business!