Secure the Bread

Feed the hungry, eliminate food waste one restaurant at a time.

Photo of Hana M
7 12

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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?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others
  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email
  • Word of mouth

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Probably - 25%

Maybe - 25%

Probably not - 0%

No - 0%

2. CONNECTION to Environmental Sustainability

5 - Absolutely! It is totally clear that the solution is contributing directly to environmental sustainability and/or addressing climate change - 50%

4 — Yes, it establishes a connection to environment/ climate change but could be stronger - 25%

3 — Somewhat, the entry speaks to this environmental sustainability, but the direct impact is not well established - 25%

2 — Not really, the connection to environment/ climate is very weak - 0%

1 — No. The entry does not have a reference the solution’s impact on environment and/or climate change - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

3. Is this entry CREATIVE?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4 - Yes, I think so - 0%

3 - Maybe - 25%

2 - Probably not. - 50%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Does this entry demonstrate a COMMITMENT to changemaking?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4 - Yes, I think so - 100%

3 - Maybe - 0%

2 - Probably not - 50%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Does this entry value CHANGEMAKING through collaboration with other stakeholders in its approach?

5 - Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4 - Yes, I think so - 0%

3 - Maybe - 50%

2 - Probably not - 0%

1 - No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

6. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think so - 0%

3- Maybe - 25%

2- Probably not - 25%

1- No - 0%

No Answer - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: What are the strengths of this project?

CONNECTION: You have a great understanding and personal connection to the problem - 100%

CREATIVITY: You have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions to aid environmental sustainability/combat climate change - 33.3%

COMMITMENT: You have a thoughtful plan for growing your business, and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 66.7%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: You value thinking around how to activate other changemakers and empower them to care about your cause. You also have a clearly defined plan on how to collaborate across multiple stakeholders - 33.3%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 66.7%

VIABLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 100%

Other option - 0%

8. FEEDBACK: What are some areas for improvement for this project?

CONNECTION: Why you care about the environment/ climate was unclear – It would be great to elaborate on what this solution means to you, personally and how it affects you and/or your community. - 50%

CREATIVITY: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 100%

COMMITMENT: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 100%

CHANGEMAKER QUALITY: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming. How will they care about environment/climate if they currently do not? Think about how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 100%

IMPACT MEASUREMENT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 100%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 50%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 50%

Other option - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Vivian Wang

LOVE THIS! I really want to combine food repurposing with my organization's entry, Linens N Love! I'm so happy to see your contribution because my team and I have seen way too much food being wasted, especially at hotel conventions. Linens N Love's mission is to donate linens to local shelters and we receive these linens donations from high-end franchise hotels, of which many hosts these conventions. We're releasing our app soon and I really want to add a tab on our app that also has a tab for food donations. I received a scholarship this summer to receive mentorship on the designing and releasing of our mobile app since this involves lots of coding and I am definitely going to bring your initiative up during our next team meeting this week. This could be an AWESOME partnership! Reach out at if you're interested!!

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