In normal times, nonprofit organization Replate picks up surplus food from offices that feed their employees lunch, caterers, restaurants, and brands with product overrun and brings it to nonprofit organizations that work with people experiencing food insecurity.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of many of Replate’s food providers, meaning that the organization’s surplus had all but dried up in late March.
In the face of this challenge, Replate expanded its offerings and launched a number of new initiatives to continue to deliver on its promise of working to ensure everyone eats, something that’s become even more important as food insecurity rises due to the pandemic.
We spoke with Charlotte Blumenthal, Community Engagement Manager at Replate, to learn about the organization’s new initiatives.
Blumenthal shared that Replate is working with enterprise restaurant chains that still have surplus during this time or who want to give back and pick up food from them. The organization is also asking its office donor partners who may be wondering how they can give back right now, to use their normal catering budget to place orders directly through local restaurants so that Replate can pick it up and distribute it to their partners.
Lastly, Replate is working with its nonprofit recipient partners to have their clients sign up for home delivery, since many of the recipient organizations are actually closed or their clients are vulnerable to infection and are remaining inside.
“While the world feels as though it has rapidly shifted, Replate’s mission to ensure everyone eats never will,” Blumenthal stated.
Replate works with shelters, job training programs, after school programs, and art spaces in order to distribute food to those who need it most. Because many of these centers are currently closed, people are no longer able to go to these spaces to get meals, which is what prompted Replate to pilot a B2C model.
The new model aims to deliver food to people’s homes, particularly to senior citizens, those with a compromised immune system, and those who simply cannot afford food.
During these times, Replate has found support in its partners and donors. Blumenthal mentions that Replate is currently working with Beyond Meat in their initiative to donate 1,000,000 of their plant-based burgers in the month of April to nonprofits and hospitals.
Another example of a company supporting the organization’s cause is Vungle. Vungle has been using their catering budget since mid-March to place a catering order with restaurants for Replate to pick up and distribute to those in need.
Although Replate has not focused on individual financial donations in the past, the organization is currently accepting them to meet the increased need during these challenging times. Much of the funds Replate is raising are going to caterer and restaurant partners to create meals for Replate to distribute to their nonprofit partners, either direct to their facilities, or direct to peoples’ homes.
Replate is a resident organization of the All Good Work program, which matches charitable organizations with flexible workspace operators with room to spare. They currently work out of Focus Innovation Studio in California.