Providing food for the hungry has always been a core part of ACTS mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering.
PWFR is a program of ACTS and is an extension of their Hunger Prevention Center which moves about 60,000 pounds of food to nearly 650 families every month. However, the primary goal of PWFR is not to benefit ACTS directly, but rather the entire Prince William region at the same time. We can do that by connecting Donor Partners with Distribution Partners all over the region and, using a cellphone app, mobilize thousands of volunteers to rescue perishable food – redirecting it from sanitation to sustainment. To do this, we have partnered with 412 Food Rescue who developed the Food Rescue Hero technology we are using. By leveraging technology, we are aggressively accomplishing three primary goals:
- Reduce Food Waste
- Reduce Food Insecurity
- Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The mission of ACTS’ Prince William Food Rescue program is to respond to the disconnect between the fact that we waste 40% of our food while 1 in 6 go hungry. ACTS’ Prince William Food Rescue aims to address the disconnect in distribution—in supply and access—by rescuing food about to go to waste and directly distributing to organizations that serve communities in need.
The goal of ACTS’ Prince William Food Rescue program is to bring healthy options to the table for families in need. We are committed to helping break the link between poverty and poor health. Rather than being composted, rescued food will be used to create nutritious meals for some of the region’s nearly 40,000 food insecure residents.
While this is needed across much of northern and central Virginia, our goal is to “grow slow… as fast as we can".
When Aaron Tolson came across this technology on social media, he immediately realized the need to implement this in our community and began working with 412 Food Rescue to bring it to the Prince William region. Steve Liga, CEO of ACTS, and Patrick King, CEO of Imagine, came alongside to help cultivate the opportunity and make it a reality. Aaron joined ACTS as the Development Director and continued working on this as a new program of ACTS. Testing of the beta Prince William Food Rescue Hero app began on July 22, 2019 and officially launched on August 14, 2019.
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Compounding this impact on hunger is food waste’s impact on the environment—which affects us all. Food waste is one of the leading causes of emissions that negatively impact our environment, to such an extent that if food waste were a country, it would be the third leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.
Pounds of food rescued
Value of food rescued (at $1.73 retail value per pound)
CO2 emissions (lbs.)
Environment equivalencies / Green House Gas (GHG)
160 barrels of oil burned. Annual: GHG from 14.5 cars / Power to 6.3 homes / 56.4 acres of forest to sequester
1601 barrels of oil burned. Annual: GHG from 145 cars / Power to 62.8 homes / 564 acres of forest to sequester
Providing food was one of ACTS inaugural programs. In fact, ACTS founded the County’s first food bank. This expansion of ACTS current food rescue program, ACTS staff and volunteers already pick up perishable food from local grocery stores. We also already share it with four other food pantries and a senior housing complex. All of this is done using a combination of volunteer drivers and vehicles and our own. Picking up pre-cooked leftovers from caterers and restaurants is also already part of our program. These donations typically are delivered to the shelter or safe house (via a staff person). This new program harness new technology, allowing us to systematically incorporate additional food providers and community volunteers, increasing our impact.
- This will be an expansion of ACTS current “food rescue” operation through the Hunger Prevention Center.
- ACTS currently distributes nearly 700,000 pounds of food to those in need each year. With the addition of the Food Rescue Program, ACTS will support the distribution of an additional 2,000,000 pounds annually by Year Three.
- We will be adapting an already proven food rescue model with a five-year history of program development and implementation, a 99% success rate for food rescue pick-ups, and is being scaled to Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Cleveland.
- The Food Rescue App is designed to work on a smart phone, making it convenient, simple, and attractive to the younger generation, who will be our next volunteers, advocates, and donors.