“Hold on, I have to get my credit card.” Jasmine Crowe, CEO of Goodr, was grocery shopping in the middle of our call earlier today. She was at the store not stocking up her own pantry but buying grocery staples for one of the dozens of families that are using Goodr’s expanded program to get fresh food during this tumultuous time.
Goodr is an Atlanta-based startup providing the logistics needed to redistribute surplus food from large businesses (think: Coca Cola, Chick-fil-A, etc) and to non-profits feeding the hungry. And with the coronavirus outbreak shutting down schools and, consequently, taking away free lunch from students, Goodr is stepping up to make sure that kids in the Atlanta area still have healthy food to eat.
To feed students, Goodr is working with school cafeterias which are still preparing packaged meals. The company picks up and delivers these meals to designated apartment drop-off zones in areas where many students live. They’re on track to deliver meals to over 40,000 students in the Atlanta school district.
Separately, Goodr is introducing another new service to drop off groceries to families who can’t afford to (or aren’t physically able to) shop themselves, or can’t make it to food pantries. “It’s like Instacart, but it’s free,” Crowe explained to me. Since the grocery delivery service doesn’t rely on surplus food, Goodr pays for the groceries through individual sponsorships (you can do it too, if you like).
In addition to grocery and student meal drop-off, Goodr is also delivering fully prepared meals cooked by partner chefs to seniors that might be hesitant to venture out and purchase food, or don’t have the financial ability to do so. Crowe said that the seniors have the option to ask that the food be dropped off outside their door to reduce the risk of contamination. Finally, the company is increasing the frequency of Goodr’s pop-up surplus food grocery stores.
These emergency initiatives are all happening on top of Goodr’s current surplus food deliveries from offices to nonprofits. “It’s still business as usual,” Crowe told me.
To increase their delivery capacity Crowe said that Goodr has hired 10 new drivers. They try to hire drivers that were recently laid off from their jobs and pay them $20 per hour. Crowe told me that Goodr uses the Google Maps Paperboy API to direct drivers through the most efficient routes. Currently, one driver can deliver groceries to six or seven families in an hour and a half. I’m from Atlanta and, knowing the traffic situation there, that’s pretty incredible.
Goodr typically gets a lot of its donations from offices and restaurants, many of which are closed or in the process of closing. Crowe told me that right now, they’re sourcing “a little bit from everywhere.” The company is still getting donations from some food partners, like Mercedes-Benz and Coca-Cola, and is also taking food from companies that are going out of business and clearing out their fridges and pantries.
Crowe doesn’t know how long those donations will last, however, or how long Goodr will be able to keep the lights on. Like many other food companies, it is not immune to the struggles that come with our new COVID-19 reality.
Nonetheless, Crowe said they’ll keep doing what they can and paying their team for as long as they can. “I’m a believer in good Karma,” Crowe told me as she finished her grocery shop. Then she had to go deliver the food to an Atlanta family, or senior, or student, and do it all over again.