ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis-based startup GiftAMeal has helped raise $20,000 for COVID-19 hunger relief in a $5,000 matching campaign with Operation Food Search.
The money was raised in just 10 days.
With the GiftAMeal phone app, people can take a photo of their order from one of 200 participating restaurants and a meal will be donated to someone in need.
GiftAMeal said more than 400,000 meals have been given to those in need through the program so far.
"GiftAMeal has always been a dependable source of donations with their ongoing program, but the results of the matching gift campaign are amazing," said Operation Food Search Executive Director Kristen Wild. "Their response comes at a time when it matters most urgently, and we’re so grateful to GiftAMeal, their users, and everyone involved with their program.”
GiftAMeal founder Andrew Glantz said it couldn't have been done without the help of the community, who rallied donations after the startup announced a 5-point plan to address hunger caused by the coronavirus:
- Donation program available for delivery/pickup/offsite customers
- Immediate financial support of hunger relief agencies – $5,000 matching challenge
- Publicity for restaurants undergoing fast changes
- Direct coordination of food donations from restaurants
- Program cost relief for struggling restaurants
“I’m proud of what we’ve done in such a short time. But the credit on this huge donation to Operation Food Search belongs to our users. We set what we thought was an ambitious goal, and they donated three times that. It’s amazing,” Glantz said.
“In addition to this donation campaign, we’ve been working hard to support our restaurant partners and our community by changing our app to allow our users to take a photo of their take-out, delivery, and even gift card purchases to give a meal to someone in need even after this campaign.”
Operation Food Search will use the money to provide food to those in need in the greater St. Louis area. The $20,000 is enough for 8,000 family meal kits, according to the organization's website.
“Even in a tough time like this, people are really coming together to help their neighbors. I’ve had restaurants call me about donating extra food, wanting to know how they could get set up with our food bank partner or local pantries --- everywhere I look, people are wanting to help.” Glantz said. “This town is amazing.”
Operation Food Search said on its website that grocery donations have dropped as store shelves have been depleted. In just a month, it said it has lost more than 75,000 pounds of food donations, enough to feed 19,000 people for a day.
"We need your help so that we can continue to provide food and services to more than 200,000 people every month!" the organization said.
For more information on how to participate in the GiftAMeal program or to become a partner restaurant, click here. To donate directly to Operation Food Search's coronavirus response, click here.