Secure the Bread
Feed the hungry, eliminate food waste one restaurant at a time.
Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria
You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
You live in the United States or its territories
You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
You have been working on this project for at least three months
You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form
Eligibility: Date of Birth
What gender do you identify with?
Help us stay in touch!
Pennsylvania: Yardley (19067)
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Date You Started Your Project Started
11/ 09 / 2019
Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.
Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)
1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?
In 2018, 37 million Americans were left food insecure, & 68% of greenhouse gas emissions came from food production. Food insecurity—unstable access to healthy food—plagues our world. Meanwhile, restaurant leftovers pile up in the trash. If contributing to global warming was a race, food waste would take bronze. Solving these issues matter because our communities need stable food sources for today and sustainable resources for tomorrow.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our website and mobile applications aim to combat food insecurity and food waste by connecting local restaurants to communities in need. On the applications, local restaurants would mark what food they have, how much food they have, and the best times for pick up. Similarly, those who need food would fill out a form of how much food they need, where they are located, and if they have any dietary restrictions. Lastly, volunteers and local food shelters could come to pick up the leftover food and deliver it to those in need. While we are constantly working to improve our system, our specific approach allows us to directly solve both issues of food waste and food insecurity.
3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.
Given today’s current climate, technology is the most accessible form of communication. Its role in STEM allows for the creation of apps and websites, like Secure the Bread, to solve real-world problems. Since the beginning, the goal of technology has always been to bridge gaps, especially in terms of communication. We aim to take advantage of technology and create an impactful platform to connect existing resources to marginalized communities who lack access to food every day. Restaurants already have an abundance of leftover food and there is nowhere for it to go. By connecting the community of people who need the food, and the people who are able to provide it, we can aim to create a more sustainable world with less food waste. As technologies change, our goal to eradicate food insecurity by redistributing food waste remains everlasting.
4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
We have always been passionately leveraging the power of technology to create impactful change. Our team first met through Kode with Klossy, & after learning the necessary programming skills at camp, we took our interest in technology for social good & began ideating ways to create sustainable solutions to everyday problems. We finally met in person at a hackathon & began to explore the issue of food waste & food insecurity. Quickly, our team learned that this issue of hunger is more prevalent in our hometowns than what we had expected. Our findings connected us to the issue at hand & motivated us to develop a tool to solve these ongoing issues. We built an MVP of our app/ website within 24 hours, received awards from Coding it Forward & Vistaprint for our technical skill & ability to help small businesses respectively, & left the event with the desire to develop our idea further.
5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”
6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.
We first worked as a team to build our idea into our central site & app. After
researching where food insecurity is most prevalent in the US, we decided to
include a live map feature detailing areas in need of support using the current location. We then planned out our program and detailed out how we would actually work with restaurants, secure funds for our project, and established our branding. This led us to win two awards at a hackathon and now we are beginning the outreach stage of STB.
7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
Secure the Bread sets itself apart from other organizations because rather than trying to build an entire network, it takes advantage of existing institutions & connects them. Instead of having people donating new food items, we repurpose fresh food. This not only encourages small business owners to play a more active role in their areas, but it helps residents who cannot afford meals to get access to three nutritional meals a day. By creating more sustainable communities we hope to bring people together and create a stronger, more connected society.
8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?
After starting this project at a hackathon, we have been able to expand our team to represent multiple regions across the United States. Once we are established, we plan to reach out to hundreds of restaurants, have them join our program, and begin our volunteering service. In order to know how we are making a difference in our communities, we would quantify all of our processes. This would include how many restaurants are part of our program, how many pounds of food waste they produce each week, how much of it is donated, and how many people are feed. After researching the amount of waste one small restaurant produces, we calculated that if we work with just 5 restaurants in the next year, we could save up to 312,000 pounds of food which would result in 3 meals a day for a year for over 44,000 individuals.
9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Our next steps would be to continue contacting businesses & local food shelters, deploy our app on the App Store to make it accessible, and initiate community-building events through local ambassadors. By scheduling weekly meal-making events with local restaurants, communities can engage with the issue at hand. Also, we plan to seek out new volunteers and restaurants to work with across the U.S. to increase our impact. Creating a reward system for those involved in our initiative would allow us to build momentum and entice participants to stay active for the cause. To increase connections, we also plan to build our social media following. Prior to these goals, we would like to finalize the backend of our website.
10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.
When STB first started, we built the site & implemented geographic data so it could work in any location. As we grew our initiative, we improved STB by consulting sustainability clubs & student councils. From this, STB grew from a website to a community of changemakers. Today, however, we are recruiting new students to the team through social media. Although currently, we’re influencing more students one Zoom call at a time through webinars focusing on food waste’s role on emission production
11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?
With Secure the Bread, we want to leverage our tech to be available to all types of communities across the US & eventually the world. We need passionate changemakers from all different backgrounds - including sustainability experts and developers to volunteer & lead their own chapters in their network. Additionally, other changemakers can join us through meal-making events which would give them a hands-on experience of the issue at hand-- carbon emissions produced by food waste.
12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?
Local restaurants will see the value of becoming a part of our initiative because of the marketing platform we’d provide them. We’d use our growing social media platforms to show the restaurant’s work with STB, giving them another avenue to gain customers. For volunteers, we’d provide them a stipend for the work they’re doing delivering food to shelters. This'll allow young changemakers like us to be a part of the initiative as college students are some of the most insecure people in the nation.
13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Tara Tran | firstname.lastname@example.org | (571) 251-6353
Nahid Memon | email@example.com | 215-817-4168
Rabeeha Khan | firstname.lastname@example.org | 6468725881
Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
Communities of color
Religious minority (non-Christian)
How did you hear about this challenge?
Recommended by others
Ashoka page or contact
Word of mouth
Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?
HERlead Fellowship - Kristen MvAvoy