The charity rescues excess food supplies and turns them into healthy meals for the needy by using innovative technology to manage its logistical challenges.
FareShare is a Melbourne-based non-profit group that salvages various ingredients that would normally be thrown out from a range of food producers, farmers and restaurants.
Some of it is passed on directly to charities that distribute it to people who need it most, but FareShare uses many of the ingredients to make nutritional meals to feed the hungry and homeless.
So far this year it has given away close to 350,000 meals through 168 charities.
The numbers are impressive and the logistical challenge posed by collecting ingredients, deciding what to do with it all and then distributing the cooked meals is daunting.
FareShare CEO, Marcus Godinho, says the group benefits from a cutting edge application, which was the brainchild of a young IT expert, John Wilson.
“John contacted us and said he wanted to help, but not in the kitchen,” Godinho says. Time passed and Wilson suggested making an iPad application to streamline the entire process.
“The driver can now plot his route using Google Maps, he can enter what he has collected at each destination rather than having to fill out paperwork,” Godinho says.
“He can then type in how much of each ingredient he has picked up, there might be 20kg of fruit or 10kg of meat.” This information is immediately relayed to the logistics manager and the kitchen.
“The kitchen might be informed it has a bumper amount of pumpkins coming in. So it can be prepared and gear up to make the right kind of meals,” he says.
FareShare runs six refrigerated vans and trucks, which are maintained (free of charge) by Linfox, which also provides training to the drivers.