This App Connects Surplus Food To People In Need

In a country where billions of pounds of food get wasted every year, one app is connecting the dots between those who have excess food and those who need it.

Copia, a food recovery app, collects surplus food from companies and distributes it to organizations that serve people in need. Companies can use the app to order a food pickup after an event, for instance, and Copia will come retrieve the fare and drop it off at a local pantry, shelter or soup kitchen.

“Hunger is the world’s dumbest problem, especially in the world’s wealthiest country,” Komal Ahmad, the app’s founder, said at the Women in the World summit in New York on Thursday. “It’s a distribution problem. We get food from those who have it to those who need it.”

@gocopia is a great app and donates your surplus of leftover food from your event to the needy. #eventprofs #waytogo pic.twitter.com/tzHLVMo7x8

— Cathy Mullen (@MtgLogistics) March 18, 2016

Food waste is a huge issue in the United States: 31 percent of the available food supply, or 133 billion pounds, went uneaten in 2010, according to the USDA. This is in a country in which almost 50 million Americans, or one in six people, live in food insecure households today.

“Hunger is pervasive,” said Margarette Purvis, President of Food Bank of NYC, said at the summit. “It’s a horrible thing that is hidden in every city, in every neighborhood — and [the person affected] is typically not who you would believe it is.”

So far Copia has collected more than eight hundred thousand pounds of food, connecting it to seven hundred thousand people.