This month’s community connection in the Change Food network is Pat O’Neil, founder and CEO of Amp Your Good. Pat grew up in a small family restaurant business which doubled as their rural community’s informal soup kitchen. His childhood lesson of the importance of getting high quality food to those facing tough times led to his development of Amp Your Good and crowd-feeding.
In celebration of Food Day 2015, Pat and Amp Your Good decided to give the tired, old food drive of canned and boxed donations a make-over. Amp Your Good’s unique approach has reinvented this service from being strictly limited to non-perishable foods, into a food drive that accommodates and celebrates real food, calling it the REAL Food drive Campaign.
This campaign allows organizations to hold food drives that raise REAL Food as donations – fruits and vegetables, locally grown produce, whole meals, and other healthy foods. Organizations can set up and run their food drives directly through Amp Your Good’s crowd feeding website. Here people can purchase food to donate to their chosen organization, and Amp Your Good will deliver the food donations directly to the food pantry, shelter or soup kitchen the food drive is supporting. The method is simple for organizations and donors, while also enormously increasing the usual reach of food drives.
The implications of this new food drive go far beyond supporting food access and healthy food. Organizations hosting a REAL food drive will also know the food they’re donating is organic, locally grown, restaurant quality and other types of REAL food. The consequence of this is the REAL Food Drive supports other causes within the food movement, such as local farming, reducing food waste, and protecting the environment.
The REAL Food Drive Campaign will last from September 15th to November 25th with Food Day (October 24th) in the middle, giving everyone in the food movement a chance to share their love of food with those who need it most.