Tag Archives: hunger

App of the Week – mRelief

mReliefWhy, in the richest country on earth, are people still going hungry? According to Feeding America 25 – 40 percent of food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. will never be eaten. This food is often thrown out as leftovers or destroyed because it is simply not pretty enough for the grocery store.  That is why mRelief is the App of the Week.

First of all mRelief is not exactly an app. It is a new web and text messaging tool for low-income families. The service helps low income families to easily locate where and when they can receive free or discounted meals this summer for their children. According to mRelief 22 million children in the U.S. receive free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches during the school year. But during the summer, four out of five of those same children can no longer count on a meal every day. So mRelief helps families not only find where to get free or reduced price meals but also help them locate food banks and determine their eligibility for food and nutrition assistance programs even if you don’t have children.

According to USDA statistics $11 billion in food stamps went unclaimed simply because people who are eligible either didn’t know or didn’t have access to applications. mRelief provides low-income people with the help they need to figure out if they qualify for programs like food stamps and much-needed social services.

mRelief was launched in September 2014 and has helped 30,000 families locate the social services they qualify for. mRelief is looking to the future with plans to help people determine the documents they need as well as submitting those documents.

The mRelief website is fairly straight forward. All the user needs to do is enter their zip code and the type of assistance they need. But the user can also find help with a variety of other needs that include;

  • Cash
  • Child Wellness
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Food
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Veterans assistance

Those without access to the internet can text their zip code to 1-844-877-6111. mRelief is currently available in 42 states.


App of the Week – Spoiler Alert

Spoiler AlertBlack people have a saying when they see you throw away food. ” You will wish for that food one day?” Wasting food has always been a sin African-American households. But in America, black and white, we have become inexcusably wasteful. Food waste is not a laughing matter. That’s why Spoiler Alert is the App of the Week.

As wealthy as America is there are nearly 50 million people who are food insecure. By food insecure we mean people simply don’t have regular access to affordable food. According to Feeding America over 25 percent of all black households lack access to enough food to live a healthy lifestyle. Black people are starving in America!

Research shows that of the 104 U.S. counties with a majority black population, 92 percent of these counties also record high food insecurity rates.

Southern states are at the heart of the food insecurity problem. States with this problems include Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina.

Have you ever heard of a food desert? This is an area where there are few if any grocery stores that many Americans take advantage of. Many food deserts are located in the inner city. The truly sad fact about this is that the problem is so bad the U.S. Department of Agriculture has created an online tool that maps food deserts. In America? Yes, in America!

Every year we waste nearly one-third of the food we produce. According to the United Nation Environment Programme and the World Resources Institute that’s almost 20 ponds per person.

Spoiler Alert is a business-to-business marketplace app created by MIT Sloan graduates Emily Malina and Ricky Ashenfelter. According to Malina eight organizations participated in its pilot program earlier this year donating nearly 10,000 pounds of food through the iOS app. Some of the food listed was claimed in as little as three minutes.

Spoiler Alert is designed to smooth the way and remove barriers to food donation. The app connects retailers, producers, and supplies to nearby non-profits, churches, charities, and homeless shelters for donation. It works in four simple steps.

1. The food is posted on the app.

2. Connects with a qualified non-profit

3. Coordinate the food pickup.

4. Use receipts for tax purposes and track wastes.

For food that is deemed no longer edible it connects to companies that make fertilizer and animal feed. Notifications are sent out as soon as food becomes available. The app records all transactions for tax purposes.

Malina stated that the start up offers restaurants and food producers a variety of ways to save money by reducing the amount of food they throw away or have to pay to have hauled away. “We offer a secondary market for discounted food sales, which enables new revenue streams, and streamline and simplify the documentation for tax benefits, which are quite sizable.”

“Many people come to this issue from an environmental or social perspective, which is absolutely right, but it also has serious financial implications for food businesses, many of which are dealing with extremely slim margins across the industry. To put that into perspective, at least in a U.S. context, businesses are throwing away $50 billion worth of lost revenue and hauling fees in wasted food,” says Malina.

One of the primary concerns of the restaurant industry is liability for the food they donate. According to Malina grocery stores along with other businesses don’t know how to donate food and are unaware the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, protecting them from legal liabilities.

I strongly encourage anyone reading this app to spread the word regarding this app. If you know someone who is in the restaurant business or owns a restaurant or produces food let them know about Spoiler Alert. Hunger in America is unnecessary and a national disgrace. How can we tolerate this in America?

Spolier Alert is free and currently only available for Apple.