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When the lights go out at a football stadium after a game, hours after fans have flooded the exits, food vendors are tasked with throwing away massive amounts of uneaten hotdogs, leftover hamburgers and bags of popcorn. According to the USDA, 133 billion pounds of food goes to waste every year – including the uneaten remains at sporting events.
Being wasteful is costly. Many men, women and children go to bed hungry every night. According to Kaitlin Bowdler, the director of sustainability for Philabundance, one in five people in the Philadelphia go hungry.
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Operation Food Rescue at the NFL Draft Experience aims to lower the amount of food that is wasted and donate the leftover food to someone in need in Philadelphia this week. Food Connect recently introduced the Food Connect app, which will be used during the 2017 NFL Draft so vendors across the city can donate surplus food.
“Now the NFL will be able to take advantage of the app and make donations in real time,” Megha Kulshreshtha, the founder of the Food Connect Group, told Technical.ly.
The app allows users to schedule food to be picked up by selecting a time that works best for the food to be retrieved. The user must package up the food, and drivers will arrive to pick it up. The food goes directly to a local meal site, food bank or community shelter to be consumed the same or next day. The goal is to reduce wasting food from vendors, events and restaurants.
There is no limit to the amount of food that can be donated. The donations are all tax deductible. Food Connect will not accept anything that contains alcohol or food that was made at someone’s home.
Jack Groh, head of the NFL’s Environment program, told Technical.ly that the league learned of the Food Connect platform after its work during the Democratic National Convention when it came through Philadelphia last year and is applying it to the NFL Draft.
“If the concept is successful at this event, we will reconnect with Megha to discuss ways we could do something similar in other cities,” Groh said.