A new app called Copia is connecting companies’ leftover gourmet food to less-fortunate members of their communities. Copia acknowledges a looming issue, specifically in urban areas: rampant hunger. In a country as wealthy as the United States, why are so many people going hungry?
Founder and CEO, Komal Ahmad, created the app after seeing the amount of food waste that was produced during her time as a student at UC Berkley.
The dual issues of food waste and hunger pushed Ahmad in the right direction with a modern solution. In an interview with the New York Times, Ahmad described Copia as “something that’s good for your company, that’s good for your company’s brand, that is good for your community, that’s good for your body and mind, and that makes you feel good too.”
Widespread hunger is a large problem with a solution that is simpler than we think. Restaurants, venues, and groups constantly utilize food to entertain. Unfortunately, a large portion of the food that is not sold or consumed ends up in the dumpster at the end of the day.
The app utilizes the user’s location to inform users (nonprofit companies) of food availability in their area. The user with the excess food then snaps a picture of the leftover food in order to publicize the donation.
The food enters an approval process, in which the nonprofit company decides whether they will accept the delivery, or if it appears inedible. The food is subsequently picked up and delivered to the hungry.
The drivers (see the Uber connection now?), better known as “Food Heroes,” are guaranteed to arrive within 1 hour of the time in which the picture was sent, making sure the food remains as fresh as possible. Though the companies pay a fee to have the food picked up, they receive a tax write-off for their donations.
Though the app is currently only effective in the San Francisco Bay Area, the developers hope to stretch across the nation by 2017. Ahmad is the recent winner of the 2016 Toyota Mothers of Invention award, presenting a $50,000 grant to fund the growth of Copia across the nation. Copia’s thought process and Komal Ahmad’s creativity is leading the nation on a track in the right direction towards sustainability and equality.