What We Do

We prevent perfectly good food from entering the waste stream by redirecting it to those who are experiencing food insecurity.

Thanks to thousands of volunteer food rescue heroes, our model of food recovery and redistribution prevents perfectly good food from entering the waste stream and brings healthy food directly to people who need it.

Why We Do It

412 Food Rescue was founded as a direct response to the disconnect between food waste, hunger, and environmental sustainability. We waste up to 40% of our food globally (translating to over 1.3 billion tons annually). This shouldn’t happen while 1 in 7 people go hungry every day. According to the United Nations, if we recover all the food that is lost or wasted, we will have enough to feed all those who are hungry, four times over.

Not to mention, food waste is an environmental problem. Food production uses 10% of the energy budget, 50% of the land and 80% of all freshwater consumed in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 97% of food waste generated ends up in a landfill.

We believe that:

Good food belongs to people, not landfills.

Up to 40% of food that is produced is wasted.

Everyone has a right to healthy food.

1 in 7 people goes hungry every day.

Climate change requires urgent action.

97% of food waste ends up in landfills, generating a large portion of U.S. methane emissions.

How it works:

We partner with food retailers, volunteer drivers, and nonprofit organizations to connect surplus food with individuals and families who are experiencing food insecurity. With the help of 2 trucks, 1 van, and thousands of volunteers who we call Food Rescue Heroes, we are able to rescue perfectly good but unsellable food that would otherwise be wasted and redirect it to people who need it.

Our food donor partners range from grocery stores, wholesalers, caterers, and everything in between. Our nonprofit partners include housing authorities, daycare centers, churches, community centers, and more.

Our model of food recovery and redistribution not only enables access to healthy food, but it allows us to bring food to where people already are – overcoming barriers to food access like transportation and time. 87% of the food we rescue is fresh food; primarily produce, meat, dairy, bread, and more.

While food rescue is the core element of our work, we do many other things to address food waste and hunger in our region, like creating meals from surplus food, equipping people with better cooking skills, creating innovative products from food waste, and distributing “unsellable” produce in a CSA program.

Join Us

Our huge volunteer network has been made possible by the development of a technology platform and mobile app, which we launched in November 2016. As of December 2021, it has been downloaded by over 20,000 individuals in Pittsburgh.

Our food rescue platform is currently used in 16 cities across the country and our goal is to support the launch of it in 100 cities by 2030.

Do you own or work for a retailer that has surplus food to offer? Our donor partners range from large food distributors to small mom-and-pop stores, restaurant chains, urban farms and even other nonprofits!

Our volunteers are our personal heroes. And they make our work happen. With the 412 Food Rescue app, you can volunteer as much or as little as you’d like. You can claim a weekly rescue that allows you to volunteer every week at the same time. Or, you can claim one-time rescues whenever you have time.