If you won $10,000 to give to a charity, what kind of an impact would you like that money to make? Perhaps you’d like to help feed the poor? Or perhaps you’d like to help make our environment healthier by reducing waste? You might think both these causes are deserving of your charitable dollars and you might rack your brain and conclude that you can merge the two causes: feed people experiencing food insecurity by reducing food waste!

Please click here to find resources related to the tech challenges faced by Second Harvest.

Simmering now with new ideas, you might do a bit of research and find out that based on a study in 2014, Canadians waste $31 billion worth of food every year – no, that’s not a typo. Most of that food is edible and most of it ends up in landfill. Agitated by this finding, you might determine that you could use $10,000 to help collect some of that edible food before it ends up as waste, and serve a meal to people who experience hunger. You’d then wonder, how many mouths could I feed? How much edible food can I actually save with $10,000? And how much of an impact will I really have?

While you may not have much experience saving edible food from landfill, Second Harvest does. They’ve been at it for over 31 years now and they make $10,000 go a very long way. With $10,000, Second Harvest can prevent 20,000 lbs of food from going to waste*. With that same amount, it can provide 20,000 healthy meals to hungry people*. If you were that person who had won $10,000 and accomplished these things, you would naturally be proclaimed a hero. For this very reason, the employee volunteers and donors of Second Harvest are also heroes.

Second Harvest rescues fresh surplus food and delivers it to people in need. All of this food is donated by grocery stores, manufacturers, distributors, farmers, restaurants, hotels and other donors. Since inception, Second Harvest has rescued and delivered over 100 million pounds of food and prevented more than 50 million pounds of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere. Every dollar donated is enough to provide two meals. That means that since 1985, Second Harvest has provided enough food for 111,013,466 meals and counting. That’s what decades of experience rescuing food accomplishes.

With the advent of technology and better communication tools, Second Harvest is hoping to improve these already stellar achievements. At Gift the Code, you could be among the participants who will help Second Harvest do just that.

As Jennifer Verschraegen, Director of Development at Second Harvest said,

“Second Harvest is excited to witness the creation of solutions that we couldn’t have designed or implemented on our own – in an innovative and entrepreneurial atmosphere. We hope to gain tech solutions that will automate manual processes, attract new supporters and ultimately inspire us to think differently about our approach to day-to-day challenges. The skills and experience of the hackathon participants will help maximize the impact of our mission in the community.”

With this in mind, Second Harvest is proposing 5 challenges for Gift the Code participants:

  1. Create a solution to convert non-financial supporters into financial supporters.
  2. Come up with a digital a solution that allows information to be more easily stored, managed, harvested and accessed by the Second Harvest team.
  3. Develop a solution that allows Second Harvest to leverage the potential benefits of its data.
  4. Craft a solution that shares information between donors and volunteers in real-time.
  5. Develop a tool that can expedite the process of capturing and digitizing donor information.

Interested in tackling one of these challenges?

Don’t forget to check back next Monday for a new post about one of the charities participating at Gift the Code. It will include a brief description of the charity and information about the challenges they’ll be bringing forward at Gift the Code!