To help people who are uncomfortable seeking food assistance, Feeding America has launched an online grocery-ordering system, OrderAhead, for a more private and discreet experience.
Over the past year, as layoffs and business closures interrupted the incomes of millions of people in America, many individuals and families faced a difficult realization — they weren’t able to afford food for themselves or their families.
OrderAhead expands access to charitable food through a private and convenient click-and-collect grocery-ordering system that reduces the physical and social barriers encountered by neighbors facing food insecurity. The program enables individuals facing hunger to order food from a Feeding America network food bank or partner organization and pick it up at community locations like schools, drive-thru distributions and libraries. In some markets, home deliveries may also be an option.
“Having access to nutritious food is paramount in helping people live better. When someone has a difficult time accessing food, it’s important we help connect the dots,” said Maryann Byrdak, CIO at Feeding America. “OrderAhead is a tool that not only helps connect people to food assistance, but does it in an efficient, convenient and private way.”
Feeding America initiated a pilot of the program in October 2020. To date, 11 food banks and 18 distribution sites have provided food to more than 4,000 households, reaching nearly 15,000 people. Altogether, 219,000-plus pounds of food have been distributed through more than 9,000 orders. Over the next year, Feeding America plans to expand the OrderAhead program to an additional 20 food banks.
Support for OrderAhead is provided by The Humana Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.
Based in Chicago, Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, it provides meals to more than 40 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste, educates the public about the problem of hunger, and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.
Throughout the pandemic, various food retailers have partnered with Feeding America to help people facing hunger, including Publix Super Markets, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Inc., Hy-Vee and Stater Bros.
Privately owned and operated, Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Employee-owned, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee is No. 34 on The PG 100. The largest privately owned supermarket chain in Southern California and the largest private employer in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties, San Bernardino, Calif.-based Stater Bros. is No. 54 on The PG 100.