Giving Back by Eating Out with GiftAMeal

    It’s not uncommon to take a picture of your meal at a restaurant, and then post it online. But did you know, there’s now a way you may be able to turn that photo of your food into actual food for someone in need?

    A mobile app created by recent Washington University graduate Andrew Glantz helps do just that.

    “GiftAMeal’s a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time someone snaps a photo at a partner restaurant,” explains Glantz, Founder and CEO of GiftAMeal. “We’re a blend of restaurant marketing and giving back. Restaurants pay a monthly subscription to be on our app, and each time someone takes a photo, we make a donation to a local food bank that helps provide one meal to a pantry, so someone in need can access it.”

    In St. Louis, that donation is made to Operation Food Search, which then distributes the food to more than 300 local food pantries.

    Here’s how it works:

    First, you need to download the free app on either an Apple or Android phone. Then, when you go out to eat, you can open the app and take a picture of your food or drinks. The app then verifies that you are at one when you’re at one of the 150+ participating restaurants. Once that’s confirmed, GiftAMeal makes a donation to provide food to someone in need. And, if you then share that photo on Facebook or Instagram, GiftAMeal will donate a second meal.

    So far, they’ve provided more than 360-thousand meals.

    “It’s been really beneficial for us as far as like customers coming in who’ve seen us and tagged us, says David Kirkland, Owner and Chef for Turn Restaurant. “Or I think customers who come in … really want to be part of this great product in this app. They’ll order an extra thing just to take a picture so they can post it and also give back to the charities, so it’s great.”

    There are currently more than 130 participating restaurants in St. Louis, with more in Chicago and Detroit, and plans are in the works to eventually go nationwide.

    If you download the GiftAMeal app and use the promo code HEC when you sign up, they’ll automatically donate a meal to someone in need through Operation Food Search right off the bat.