We've all heard mamas, daddies, grandmamas, or granddaddys repeat time and time again, "We don't waste food in this house!" or "Do you know how many starving kids would want that food you're throwing away?" And it turns out, they have good reason for the nagging concern. Food waste in the U.S. makes up an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the food supply, accounting for 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food, according to research. On the flip side, about 12 percent of American families are going hungry, and a disproportionate number are minorities. COVID-19 has made the situation much worse, with experts predicting a "hunger pandemic".
Jasmine Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr, is one entrepreneur who is taking matters into her own hands to combat the hunger issue in her community. "You don't have to be a nonprofit to serve. I started a company with the goal of doing good, and it's really been working for me," Crowe said. "You can do well, as far as providing jobs for the community [and creating] financial stability for yourself, by doing good."
Image via Instagram/goodrco
At the core of Goodr's services is the notion that the problem is not in food scarcity but in logistics. Rerouting extra food for those in need is essential. Her company's technology helps businesses track and put their surplus food to good use---providing a solution that not only opens businesses up to potential tax breaks but helps to reduce greenhouse emission from landfills and offer families perfectly edible and nutritious food options. She and her team are now laser-focused on helping families in Atlanta, where the company is headquartered, who lack access or money for food and groceries.
"When everything began happening with COVID 19, I understood that there was going to be a lot of people in need and they were going to need food," Crowe explained. "From there, I decided to launch what we're doing right now, and it's really taken off. I think it's because so many people are in need of food and it's something I suspected from the beginning."
Qualifying families have been able to get food via pop-up grocery stores as well as through nonprofit partnership participation with Goodr. "We source from [retailers including] Walmart and Costco and work with some of the large food producing companies," Crowe said. "It's basically like an UberEats or Instacart, [but] free."
Image via Instagram/Goodrco
Those who want to support can also donate funds to sponsor families. Crowe said $100 typically covers a family of 4 to 5. "That gives them about 30 meals [and covers] the grocery shopping, groceries, packaging, and delivery," she added. People can also support by donating any sum of money toward sponsoring a family or by spreading the word. The company also has plans to expand to cities like New Orleans and Los Angeles, Crowe added. "Goodr operates in 10 markets, but for our COVID-related relief, because we're headquartered in Atlanta, a lot of our work has been currently concentrated here."
Crowe's passion for feeding communities was sparked from a personal passion in her own kitchen. While working in social impact and nonprofit consulting, she used her spare time to provide meals for the hungry.
"I started Goodr after I was feeding people who were experiencing hunger and homelessness from my kitchen for about three-and-a-half years," Crowe said. "I was price-matching, couponing, picking up all the food, and cooking it for hours. It made me think, 'It would be good if people donated the food.' That's when I started researching what happens to food at the end of the night [at businesses]. I began to stumble across [the concept of] food waste and became upset that so much food goes to waste while so many people are going hungry. That's the thing that got me started in this business."
She worked with developers to create a digital platform where businesses can register, import their menus or food items, and work with Goodr to redirect where their surplus goods go. "Our platform calculates the value of the items that are being donated as well as the donated tax deduction value, and then we have drivers pick it up and deliver it directly to nonprofits. That's [why] hunger is not just an issue of scarcity. It's about getting it to people instead of landfills."
Image via Instagram/Goodrco
A misconception might be that food waste is just that: trash or waste. However, many restaurants and businesses have perfectly fine goods that simply did not sell that day or week, and the food is discarded. "It's just excess food. This isn't food that's bad or expired," Crowe said.
"It's important that businesses donate their surplus food because they're already paying to throw the food away anyway. They have a waste management bill, so it's not like this food is just cheaper to throw away than to donate. Businesses must understand the impact they're making in the community but also the impact they're making on the environment by not donating the food."
Filling a need during a crisis is a vital way businesses can not only stay afloat but be of service to the very communities that have kept them in business in the first place. Goodr has found a way to combine social good with innovating enterprise. "We come in and help businesses redirect food to people in need. We're trying to lead the way in making sure we're getting food to people. We just think it's so important."
For more information how you or your business can help, visit Goodr's Website or follow them on Instagram @goodrco.
Featured image courtesy of Jasmine Crowe