412 Food Rescue Statement and Response to COVID-19

By March 30, 2020 July 10th, 2020 Media

Federal Guidelines

Volunteers

PLEASE READ OUR NO CONTACT RESCUE PROTOCOL

We evaluate COVID19 HOURLY, please watch for communication from us.

An important reminder: if not already, we ask that our volunteers with compromised immune systems and who are age 60 and over to please stay at home. If you live with individuals who are elderly or at risk, please stay at home. We ask that you assist us in making the donation process a no-contact exchange to help increase the safety of all parties involved by following the temporary adjustment to our operational procedures:

  • PLEASE WASH HANDS before and after transporting donations to the pickup location.
  • CALL DONOR to establish a no-contact pickup location. This location should be somewhere that the food will be safe and covered.
  • Volunteers are not allowed to go INTO establishments. Donations MUST be brought outside to the volunteer.
  • Maintain 6 FEET OF DISTANCE from staff to ensure safety for all parties.
  • According to new recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, YOU MUST WEAR A MASK if you are going to volunteer with 412 Food Rescue. Click here to watch a video on how to DIY a no sew mask using a bandana.

If you have any questions or experience any trouble on the road, please call our dispatch team at 412.277.3831. We are standing by.

Wednesday, July 8

We are in need of volunteers to help us load Farmers to Families food boxes at several locations. Please register at one of the links below and help us get fresh produce and dairy to folks in need!

Downtown Pittsburgh – Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays – July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
Register to volunteer

Natrona Heights – Friday, July 17
Register to volunteer

McKeesport – Saturday, July 25
Register to volunteer

Hill District – Saturday, August 1
Register to volunteer

Clairton – Friday, August 7
Register to volunteer

North Side — Saturday, August 8
Register to volunteer

Penn Hills — Friday, August 14
Register to volunteer

Washington County – Saturday, August 29
Register to volunteer

Tuesday, June 30

COVID-19 cases have seen a recent surge in the United States, including within Allegheny County. As a result, we want to ensure that we are feeding our communities using the safest practices possible.

We ask that anyone traveling out of state, especially to hotspots like Florida, Texas and the Carolina coast refrain from volunteering with 412 Food Rescue for 14 days upon returning. If you feel unwell or if you have interacted with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please stay home and refrain from food rescues for 14 days or until you test negative for COVID-19.

Additionally, please continue to follow our NO CONTACT PROTOCOL and keep up to date with our COVID-19 updates, as we are making evaluations by the hour.

If you have any questions or experience any trouble on the road, please call our dispatch team at 412.277.3831. We are standing by.

Wednesday, June 3

We are in need of volunteers to help us load Farmers to Families food boxes at several locations. Please register at one of the links below and help us get fresh produce and dairy to folks in need!

Natrona Heights – Friday, June 5
Register to volunteer

Clairton – Friday, June 12
Register to volunteer

North Side – Saturday, June 13
Register to volunteer

Fayette County – Friday, June 19
Register to volunteer

Hill District – Saturday, June 20
Register to volunteer

Washington County – Friday, June 26
Register to volunteer

Mt. Pleasant – Wednesdays, June 10, and 17
Register to volunteer

Green Tree – Wednesdays and Thursdays, June 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25
Register to volunteer

Downtown Pittsburgh – Thursday, June 11; Thursday, June 18; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, June 23, 24, 30, and July 1
Register to volunteer

Wednesday, April 22

The need for social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis makes it much harder for vulnerable communities to reach food assistance. 412 Food Rescue is working with our network of nonprofit partners to gradually ramp up our Home Delivery Program.

In order to continue doing this as safely as possible, we are requesting that volunteers complete the Pennsylvania State Police Background Check. In order to continue doing home deliveries moving forward, all volunteers will need to complete the following process and provide a copy of the record. This process is free and takes approximately 5 minutes. Even if you have already done this for another organization, we ask that you complete this for 412 Food Rescue as well.

  1. Go to epatch.state.pa.us
  2. Fill out requested information
    Volunteer Organization Name – 412 Food Rescue
    Volunteer Organization Telephone Number – 412-407-5287
  3. Select “New Record Check”
  4. Fill out all information requested
  5. “Submit request”
  6. You will immediate receive results if there is no criminal record associated
  7. Click on the 9-digit control number (combination of letter & numbers)
  8. Click “Certification Form”
  9. Click “Save” as a PDF
  10. Email attachment to volunteer@412foodrescue.org
    Subject line: “FIRST NAME LAST NAME – Background Check”

We appreciate your willingness to help in our community and would not be doing this if it weren’t in the best interest of serving as many people as possible. Thank you!

Monday, March 30

Our partners at Giant Eagle are providing clear updates regarding confirmed positive COVID-19 cases at their stores. Essential businesses, grocers, and food recovery organizations continue to work together on evolving best practices for donation processes.

Saturday, March 21

Allegheny County Free Food Distribution Map

Please update, share, offer suggestions, add / update locations! Want to help? Sign up to volunteer virtually on Sunday, March 22 at 2PM.

Created and updated by Food Rescue Hero Melinda Angeles, Department of Information Technology., GIS), Nicholas Cotter and Amy McCarty (DHS), and Ryan Geraghty (412 Food Rescue).

Thursday, March 19

Access to food has never been more difficult for many members of our community. Whether it’s students who have been isolated from their only meals of the day, elders in our community who are at-risk every time they leave home, or the many who have recently lost their jobs due to this crisis, we are seeing an unprecedented need.

But also unlike any other time, we are faced with equally heightened need for safety. A balance we didn’t imagine we would need to strike – the need to be there FOR each other more than ever, with the need to ensure we are distanced FROM each other.

We evaluate the situation HOURLY, please watch for communication from us. An important reminder: if not already, we ask that our volunteers with compromised immune systems and who are age 60 and over to please stay at home. If you live with individuals who are elderly or at risk, please stay at home.

Last Monday we announced no contact for drop-offs of donations. Today we are instituting the same policy for pick ups. We ask that you assist us in making the donation process a no-contact exchange to help increase the safety of all parties involved by following the temporary adjustment to our operational procedures:

  • PLEASE WASH HANDS before and after transporting donations to the pickup location.
  • CALL DONOR to establish a no-contact pickup location. This location should be somewhere that the food will be safe and covered.
  • Volunteers are not allowed to go INTO establishments. Donations MUST be brought outside to the volunteer.
  • Maintain 6 FEET OF DISTANCE from staff to ensure safety for all parties.

If you have any questions or experience any trouble on the road, please call our dispatch team at 412.277.3831. We are standing by. On behalf of our entire community, we can’t thank you enough,

412 Food Rescue

Monday, March 16

We value your shared commitment to reducing food waste and food insecurity in our communities, and there is so much need now, more than ever. With many businesses shutting their doors, we are beginning to see a spike in new donations. Additionally, access to food has never been more difficult for many members of our community. Whether it’s students who have been isolated from their only meals of the day, elders in our community who are at-risk every time they leave home, or the many who have recently lost their jobs due to this crisis, we are seeing an unprecedented need.

But also unlike any other time, we are faced with equally heightened need for safety. A balance we didn’t imagine we would need to strike – the need to be there FOR each other more than ever, with the need to ensure we are distanced FROM each other.

We evaluate the situation HOURLY, please watch for communication from us.

We appreciate you and want to send another email to let you know how much impact you are making and to also remind you of some guidelines and precautions:

We ask that if you are able, please set your app notifications to ON, and claim any rescues that you can. In coordination with our food donors and nonprofit partners, we would like to share a temporary adjustment to our operational procedures:

  • For weekly rescues, CALL FOOD DONORS to ensure that there is an available food donation.

  • CALL THE NONPROFIT or receiving location when you are on your way to arrange a no-contact drop-off. This location should be somewhere that the food will be safe and covered.

  • Deliveries DO NOT require signatures at drop-off.

  • DO NOT go on food rescues if you and/or someone that you have been in contact with is not feeling well or believed to have or been exposed to the Coronavirus.

  • Please visit https://412foodrescue.org/covid19/ for continuing updates.

If you have any questions or experience any trouble on the road, please call our dispatch team at 412.277.3831. We are standing by.

Again, we are going to communicate with you often, please watch for our messages on email, text and social media.

We can’t thank you enough,

412 Food Rescue

Friday, March 13

At 412 Food Rescue, we are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 as it makes its way into American communities. As an important source of food for people vulnerable to hunger, we have every intention of continuing our mission to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste every day, and especially in times of uncertainty.

As more rescues become available, we ask that you please set your notifications to ON, and only complete food rescues if feeling well.

Additionally, please do NOT obtain signatures when completing food rescues. In 2-3 days, there will be a forced app update that removes this option. Until then, skip this step by selecting the option that reads “no one is available to sign.”

If you experience any issue with the upcoming app update or have any questions or concerns, please reach out to 412.277.3831.

To stay updated with the situation, please visit this page.

Thank you. We appreciate you.

412 Food Rescue

P.S. As a reminder, per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), here are simple steps to aid in prevention:

  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • If you have a weekly rescue, requesting a substitute volunteer is very simple within the app. There are active volunteers that can “sub” in while you take the time to rest and get well.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth when possible.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.

Thursday, March 12

Our Commitment to our Communities

At 412 Food Rescue we are closely monitoring the rapidly changing situation of COVID-19 as it makes its way into American communities. As an important source of food for people vulnerable to hunger, we have every intention of continuing our mission to eliminate hunger and reduce food waste every day, and especially in times of uncertainty.

As public officials urge “social distancing” and other precautionary measures, we are taking steps to ensure that we safely continue our operations and even increase our efforts as more people become vulnerable to food insecurity, while taking measures to keep our staff, volunteers and food recipients healthy.

Steps we are taking:

STAFF – Our staff members have paid sick leave which we are encouraging them to take if they are not feeling well or believe they have been exposed to COVID-19. They also have been directed to not come into work if they are not feeling well and/or if a family member is ill. As an example of our proactive efforts, one of our staff members was recently self-quarantined after a trip to Los Angeles, where she returned exhibiting some symptoms of COVID-19. This staff member did not return to work after the trip, has not had in-person contact with our operations, any staff, volunteers or food.  She has been quarantined until such a time as she is permitted to return to work.

VOLUNTEERS – We have issued communications to our volunteers, urging them to stay home and refrain from volunteering if they are sick or believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

We are encouraging all healthy staff and volunteers to continue to carry out food deliveries, but take precautions recommended by the CDC such as “social distancing” (refraining from shaking hands, for example); frequent, thorough hand washing and use of hand sanitizer with an alcohol content of 60% or higher; and avoid touching the face and mouth area. We also suggest using bleach disinfectant (such as Clorox wipes) to clean areas such as steering wheels of cars that are frequently touched.

Regarding the concern of virus transmission through donated food:

Some people may be concerned about the virus being transmitted through food. We have always been focused on safe food practices.

The USDA reports that there have been no cases of COVID-19 that have been proven to be transmitted through food or packaging. While there is still much that is unknown about the virus, remember that almost any food  – from a grocery store or a restaurant or a food delivery service – has been handled by someone, and in most cases, multiple people. We are diligently instructing our staff and volunteers to follow the same precautions of food handlers in other industries. There is nothing to suggest the risk in our food delivery system is any higher than those in other food distribution systems. We will continue to stay in close contact with our staff and volunteers as the situation evolves and we know more.

Now, more than ever. How we are responding to make food available to those in need:

It is more important than ever to not only continue our daily operations in delivering perfectly good food to those most in need. We are planning a response with our partners on how best to be of service as more people become food insecure due to potential school closures, layoffs or temporary suspended operations of businesses. As those details become available we will be making continued announcements here:  412foodrescue.org/covid19

How you can help:

If you would like to volunteer, please download our Food Rescue Hero app.

The health and safety of everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable, is our top priority, as it always has been.

We are thankful for the support of all who help to make our impact in feeding thousands of people with millions of pounds of perfectly good food possible.

Caring for people in need is what we do. Caring for people’s well-being is what we do. We are all in this together.

– Leah Lizarondo and The 412 Food Rescue Team

Tuesday, March 10

To all our Heroes, please read. We appreciate you.

Dear Food Rescue Heroes,

You are an integral part of 412 Food Rescue: moving more than half of the food that is donated, and contributing your valuable time and energy to furthering our mission to end hunger and end food waste. Thank you.

While our region has not yet been hit by COVID-19, it is important to be vigilant and take the necessary steps in order to prevent the spread of any contagious disease.  Per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), simple steps to aid in prevention include:

  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you have a weekly rescue, requesting a substitute volunteer is very simple within the app. There are active volunteers that can “sub” in while you take the time to rest and get well.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth when possible.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces with a disinfectant.

Thank you and please let us know if you have any questions.

The 412 Food Rescue Team

Food Donors

Please help us make the food donation process a no-contact exchange to help increase the safety of all parties involved by following these temporary guidelines to our operational procedures.

Nonprofits and Food Recipients

Monday, March 16

An update for our Nonprofit and Food Recipient Partners

You are amazing! We appreciate our partnership and could not do this important and timely work without you. In an effort to best collaborate with our community, we have 2 requests of you:

Taking these actions steps will help us accurately connect food donations within our network. Thank you!

Community Services

Wednesday, July 8

During COVID-19, we’re connecting the USDA’s Farmers to Families food boxes with our region’s highest need communities via mass walk-up and drive-up distributions. These no-contact distributions are made possible by partners including the American Red Cross and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

All distributions are first-come, first-serve. Check 412 Food Rescue’s social media for more details about each distribution a few days before the event.

Laurel Highlands — Wednesday, July 15
11am – 1pm at Fallingwater

Tarentum — Friday, July 17
1 – 3pm at Highlands High School

McKeesport — Saturday, July 25
10am – 12pm at McKeesport Area High School

Hill District — Saturday, August 1
10am – 12pm at 1850 Centre Avenue (the old Shop’n Save)

Clairton — Friday, August 7
1 – 3pm at Clairton High School

North Side — Saturday, August 8
10am – 12pm at Heinz Field

Penn Hills — Friday, August 14
1 – 3pm at Penn Hills High School

Washington County — Saturday, August 29
10am – 12pm at the Washington County Fairgrounds

Tuesday, June 30

Together with our partners at A+ Schools, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, and the Latino Community Center, we are distributing summer meals for kids and teens on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting July 7th. Please spread the word!

 

Monday, May 11

COMMUNITY TAKEOUT

With food insecurity at an all-time high and the restaurant industry in crisis, 412 Food Rescue is launching a new program to provide assistance on both ends of a huge food supply chain problem. Community Takeout will pay locally owned restaurants to prepare 1,500 meals per week for people in need of food assistance, starting today at noon.

Inspired by Double Play, a program independently launched by Dr. Mark Baratz, a longtime 412 Food Rescue supporter and food waste warrior, the program aims to scale the impact that Dr. Baratz has started. Community Takeout will launch with five independently owned restaurants — Arnold’s Tea, Bae Bae’s Kitchen, Khalil’s, DiAnoia’s Eatery, and The Warren — which represent a broad swath of Pittsburgh’s diverse food community.

After each day’s meals are prepared, Food Rescue Heroes will make no-contact deliveries of the food to the our nonprofit partners and also directly to people who are home-bound and experiencing food insecurity.

The cost of each Community Takeout meal is $10, with $6 paid directly to the restaurant, $2 covering logistics and transport coordination, and $2 donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Mutual Aid fund. Over the course of 10 weeks, each participating restaurant will receive $18,000. 412 Food Rescue hopes these payments will help cover fixed overhead costs incurred while restaurants are closed to dine-in business. Takeout containers, an expense that has increased for most restaurants that remain open, will be donated to this program by US Foods and Sysco.

412 Food Rescue is seeking individual donors to help fund and grow this program. Click here to learn more about Community Takeout.

Thursday, April 16

HOME DELIVERY

In Allegheny County alone, approximately 20,000 seniors live in poverty. Now that this crisis has isolated the most vulnerable members of the community, 412 Food Rescue has launched a home delivery service and a no-contact delivery protocol to make sure food is reaching seniors and others who are home-bound, while following CDC guidelines to keep both drivers and beneficiaries safe.

On March 27 and 31, 412 Food Rescue volunteers delivered emergency food to 175 homes in Allegheny and Beaver Counties. The information from this test run is being used to gradually expand the service to thousands more homes, starting with an effort that will take place today.

For these efforts, 412 Food Rescue is working in partnership with nonprofits that serve populations that require home delivery such as food banks, food pantries, senior agencies and more.

“As we are not a direct service organization, we work through our nonprofit partners to identify individuals in need. This collaboration will continue to explore ways in which individuals can access home delivery,” says David Primm, 412 Food Rescue Chief Operating Officer. “If you are part of a nonprofit with clients that need home delivery service, please contact 412 Food Rescue directly so we can work together.”

Once the pilot period in Pittsburgh is completed, the protocol and features will be rolled out in all cities that the Food Rescue Hero app serves, with a goal to release nationally sometime this year.

Anyone can register to volunteer with 412 Food Rescue by downloading the Food Rescue Hero app, available on iOS and Android.

Wednesday, April 8

Due to rainy weather in today’s forecast we have made some adjustments to our bus stop distribution. We moved a few of our stops to spaces that offer more weather protection, and also extended our reach into the North Side.

As a reminder, this week is spring break for public schools. To complement the food distribution program from the Pittsburgh Public Schools, 412 Food Rescue, A+ Schools, Latino Community Center and the City of Pittsburgh are working with Eat ‘n Park and Community Kitchen Pittsburgh to do Bus Stop Food Distribution. 

We are distributing free grab-and-go meals at specific bus stops to help meet the needs of students and families. Bus routes will be in service on Wednesday, April 8th and Friday, April 10th. Each route can be found below, and we need your help getting the word out.

Please spread the word, be safe, and care for your neighbors.

Thank you,
412 Food Rescue

Monday, April 6

BUS STOP FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS

This upcoming week is spring break for public schools. 🍎To complement food distributions at Pittsburgh Public Schools, organizations have come together to distribute food at BUS STOPS in West Pittsburgh, the Hilltop, and the Hill District/East from 11AM-1PM on Monday, April 6th, Wednesday, April 8th, and Friday, April 10th. We will be distributing free grab-and-go meals at each bus stop to help meet the needs of students and families.

A few asks!
PLEASE SHARE: Please share these routes and info with your networks to make sure we reach children and families in need.

PLEASE VOLUNTEER: We need volunteers at the bus stops to help distribute food safely and ensure good physical distancing. Please EMAIL JGEISER@LATINOCOMMUNITYCENTER.ORG. All volunteers MUST wear a mask. Gloves will be available and all physical distancing practices will be enforced.

Thank you to our partners:

A Plus Schools
Latino Community Center
United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
Circles Greater Pittsburgh
Community Kitchen Pittsburgh
Construction Junction
The Salvation Army of Western PA
PNC
The Best Of The Batch Foundation
Eat’n Park
PA 2-1-1 Southwest
City of Pittsburgh – Office of the Mayor