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Walnut Creek Magazine

White Pony Express Launches Food Rescue App

Since its inception in 2013, White Pony Express (WPE) has delivered 18 million pounds of fresh food to over 120,000 people in Contra Costa County. Now the organization is ramping up its rescue efforts to meet a surge in demand with the launch of a Food Rescue App.

“We've seen an explosive growth in the need for food among underserved populations in our county since the pandemic began,” says executive director Eve Birge. The White Pony Express Food Rescue App will exponentially increase both our volunteer ranks and the amount of food we are able to distribute.”

Through community organizing, WPE has built a coalition of 80+ partner agencies and 400+ volunteers who support the nonprofit’s fresh food rescue efforts. “We work with restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. Some of our biggest partners include Imperfect Foods, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, and Whole Foods Market,” says Birge.

Despite the abundance of wealth in Contra Costa County, Birge says free or affordable food is not available to many residents. “Populations that were already struggling got hit hard during the pandemic by layoffs, intermittent work schedules, and the region’s high cost of living. And many county live in 'food deserts' without access to produce."

White Pony’s anti-hunger efforts also reduce food waste. And under California’s new composting law, S.B. 1383, by 2025, 20% of disposable food waste must be recovered for human consumption. 

“Food waste and hunger are inextricably related. By helping with one issue, you’re helping with both,” explains Birge. “Food decomposition in landfills is a significant source of greenhouse gas production. WPE diverts over 450,000 pounds of nutritious, highly perishable food from landfills annually, preventing over 400,000 pounds of carbon dioxide and methane from entering the atmosphere.”

With the Food Rescue App donors (restaurants/markets) can reduce waste by signaling to volunteers when they have excess food. for an available “food runner” then picks up and delivers the food directly to a matching recipient.

Follow these easy steps to become a Food Rescue Hero and make a difference by picking up and delivering surplus food:

Step 1:  DOWNLOAD the FOOD RESCUE APP on Apple for an iPhone or an Android.  

Step 2:  COMPLETE the New Volunteer Orientation on-line or in-person: 

Step 3:  COMPLETE the app-based Food Safety Training.

Step 4:  CLAIM a ‘food run’ via the app and off you go!

In as little as an hour you can make a difference by delivering surplus food to neighbors in need. If you are a local restaurant or catering company, you can set up regular or one-time food rescue pick-ups by contacting Pete at [email protected].





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