I. Opportunity Identification
Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) is a New York-based nonprofit with a mission to curb hunger and make unused food available to all. We decided to build a mobile platform that allows people in transit to help deliver unsold food to address the problems arising from an insufficient number volunteers and amount of donated food.
On average, each New Yorker spends an hour in transit per day (48 minutes in Manhattan). Additionally, it has been estimated that New York City is over 680,000 meals short of meeting its citizens’ daily food needs. In the U.S., the total food loss per day amounts to more than 49 million pounds in all full-service restaurants and 85 million pounds in all fast food restaurants. According to the online questionnaires we sent to current RLC volunteers, 95% of the respondents reported having their smartphones while volunteering.
II. Experiment Innovation
The Lovoy application (love+enjoy volunteering) is a prototype we built for RLC to collect map-based information of donors and receivers. Users can input addresses or drop pins of their original transit plan in the map to search for their optimized volunteer route. Each user has a profile with his or her personal information, delivery records, upcoming and past events, and customized recommendations. Volunteers can interact with one another using the chat function, and share their good deeds through social media.
The long-term goal for this project is not only to enable people to flexibly deliver left-over food from restaurants to homeless shelters during their transit times, but also to facilitate volunteer work by minimizing the associated costs in terms of time, skill, and effort. Through our application, we hope to spark a culture of helping others anytime and anywhere. The minimum viable product was tested and present to RLC for use. The next development phase will take place in Sept - Dec 2017.