Student-Powered Food Rescue and Hunger Relief.
Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?
Eligibility: Date of Birth
October 2, 2003
Help us stay in touch!
(513) 868-4538, 3371 Hamilton Cleves Rd, Hamilton, OH 45013, Suite 218
Website or social media url(s) (optional):
Youtube: JEE Foods
Linked-In: JEE Foods
Date You Started Your Project Started
January 05, 2018
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?
One in nine Americans struggles with hunger. Yet, almost 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted. This food is simply thrown away because it’s either not aesthetically pleasing or it’s just past the expiration date among other factors. This wasted food costs the United States $165 billion each year. Hunger and poverty go hand in hand. In our city, approximately 22% of the population lives in poverty.
2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
JEE Foods rescues food that would have otherwise been wasted and transforms it into food that’s donated back into the community. Not only does this help to solve the issue of hunger, but also the growing problem of food waste. The usability of rescued food is extended through freezing, dehydration or repurposing. The finished product is then distributed to individuals directly through our organization or other local outreach organizations. When processing food, we aim to achieve as little waste as possible; unusable food and scraps are composted at our local urban garden.
JEE Foods sees the connection between hunger and poverty. Working to end the poverty cycle, we provide unemployed community members the opportunity to come work at JEE Foods. Individuals receive on the job training as well as certifications in the food industry, which increases their chances of employment.
3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?
In our Information Technology class, our instructor was approached by Samsung and IVECA virtual schooling to participate in the Samsung Global STEAM challenge. The challenge included creating solutions to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, No Poverty and Zero Hunger. After research and collaboration with our mentors and students in South Korea, We identified three factors contributing to poverty worldwide: jobs, education, economy, hence the JEE. Stemming from these factors JEE Foods was established
In Hamilton, Ohio, the USDA has recognized the area as a food desert, meaning it’s difficult to access affordable, nutritious food, while almost 22% of the Hamilton population is in poverty. Because our hometown is overcome by these issues, achieving United Nations SDGs 1 and 2 just seemed natural as the basis for JEE Foods.
4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”
5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.
In-need community members can begin the process of receiving assistance through our website or by phone. Once received, community members are then prompted to fill out an assistance request. Next, someone from our organization will walk them through the steps to ensure they receive the help they need.
Volunteers are the backbone of our organization. We use an online platform to manage our food rescues and volunteer opportunities, community members are able to claim rescues and transport the food from the donor to our organization. In addition, we utilize students and community members in the food transformation process.
Those who don’t have a job can also find the resources they need through JEE Foods. By helping to transform rescued food, volunteers receive on the job training and food safety certifications. Volunteers are also compensated for their hours worked into food.
6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?
While most food pantries collect food that would have been used, JEE Foods rescues it before it lands in our landfills. Most food pantries collect non-perishable goods, through our approach, we are able to provide fresh produce and more nutritious options (Such as pre-cooked rice).
JEE Foods works to address one of the root issues of hunger -Jobs. We offer on the job training and food safety certification to community members who request food donations, something hardly seen in our local organizations. With experience and certification, they are able to find jobs and become self-sustainable.
7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
JEE Foods has rescued over 8,000 pounds of food and impacted nearly 4,100 people in our community. Since starting JEE Foods, our food handled month over month has increased by almost 360%. Since we began a coffee bar with breakfast options in our school, we have seen an increase in the number of students eating breakfast daily by over 40%.
JEE Foods realizes that education about food waste is crucial. We have visited and talked with over 400 students about food waste. We’ve seen that, even from a young age, students are excited and eager to make a difference in our community to help end hunger and food waste.
Hearing stories from our donation recipients shows us how much of an impact we can have. One recipient writes,” JEE foods came to me in both a time of food insecurity and illness, they gave me relief in this trying time and I'm grateful that they were there for me and my family."
8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?
Our goals for JEE Foods includes increasing our food handled, and operational efficiency, reducing the turnover time of rescued food. We are developing a mobile grocery store that would be stocked with rescued and transformed food. This would enable us to deliver food to surrounding neighborhoods that are considered food deserts, providing people access to the food they desperately need.
JEE Foods is also looking into making our school more sustainable within the next year. We see the waste that our school is producing and want to make a change. Small changes, such as switching to compostable plates, using reusable straws, and setting up compost bins in our school can have a major effect on our environment in the long run.
9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
Donations less than $100
Donations between $100-$1k
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?
White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?
No, I do not identify with an underrepresented community
How did you hear about this challenge?
Ashoka page or contact