By Suzanne Vanderhoef
A local startup that feed those with food insecurities has just reached a major milestone: Since its inception in 2015, GiftAMeal has now donated the equivalent of more than one-million meals to those in need throughout the United States. And for consumers, taking part is pretty easy, and completely free.
GiftAMeal is a free mobile app and each time someone snaps a photo of their food or drink from a partner restaurant, they donate to a local food bank –here in the St. Louis area that’s Operation Food Search—the equivalent of the cost of providing one meal to someone. And, if the customer chooses to share their photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, GiftAMeal donates an additional meal for each social media platform.
Because of their ability to purchase in bulk, Operation Food Search is able to leverage every dollar its received from Operation Food Search into $10 worth of food and services to meet the immediate needs of the community.
“Food insecurity can be very high around the holidays,” explains Kristen Wild, Operatoin Food Search President and CEO. “Kids are in school but they’re home over break and a lot of times families have a challenge with feeding their kids if they get the meals at school, they’re having to come up with the meals on their own over Thanksgiving break over winter break. There also tends to be a decrease in food being donated in some regards, so it’s a challenging time.”
To date, GiftAMeal has given Operation Food Search in the St. Louis region more than $100,000.