‘Do-goodrs’ rescue leftover food for nonprofits

For some clients, like the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, Goodr takes prepared food from the kitchen’s serving pans and transfers it to Goodr’s packaging for transportation to an Atlanta-area nonprofit. CONTRIBUTED BY GOODR

For some clients, like the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, Goodr takes prepared food from the kitchen’s serving pans and transfers it to Goodr’s packaging for transportation to an Atlanta-area nonprofit. CONTRIBUTED BY GOODR

Once a week, a team of "do-goodrs" from Atlanta-based Goodr (pronounced "good-er") arrives at the Techwood Drive kitchen of Turner Broadcasting System to pick up leftover food. "It might be toasted almond rice or curry chicken," said Executive Chef Ryan Whitten of Restaurant Associates. "Maybe some pre-made sandwiches. What we appreciate is that Goodr takes what might have been wasted food and rescues it, making the connection between people who have food and people who need food."

The team takes the food directly to a nonprofit’s kitchen, saving money for the nonprofit on its food bills, and preventing the food from going to a landfill.

“One of the most fun things about our relationship with Goodr is the chance to offer nutritious food to people who otherwise might never have tasted fresh asparagus, beets or something prepared with ricotta,” Whitten said.

Tafoya Hubbard is one of the do-goodrs. Another day might find her, along with long-time driver Mike Johnson, picking up food from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport vendors and delivering it to a nonprofit.

Hubbard connected with Goodr and its founder, Jasmine Crowe, over a shared interest in food insecurity. “When you consider how much food we waste, and the number of people who are food-insecure, it feels good to be part of an organization with this kind of impact,” she said.

Goodr bills itself as a food waste management company. But, rather than taking food waste to a landfill, clients pay Goodr to pick up food that still is good, but not needed at their location, and deliver it to someone who can use it.

Goodr operates from a business mindset, as is evident from its home page, which announces, “Wasted food is wasted money.”

Zebedee McLaurin, Goodr’s sustainability director, explained it this way: “We provide the analytics, supplies and logistics to get the food from point A to point B. A lot of businesses have edible food that goes to waste, and have for years been concerned about the liability (if they wanted to donate the food). We have liability insurance, our nonprofit clients sign waivers with us, and we track and measure food safety to its final destination.”

The business operates off an app; clients have a dashboard documenting their savings, showing how many pounds of food they’ve donated, the value of that food, how many carbon emissions they’ve kept out of the air, how many meals they’ve provided, and who received the food. The service is a powerful tool in helping a company achieve zero waste.

Kecia Baker, director of programs and facilities for Solomon's Temple Foundation in Atlanta, oversees a shelter program feeding women and children living in a 130-bed facility. "We love Goodr," Baker said. "We know we're receiving high-quality food that has been packaged with integrity."

During the week, Solomon’s Temple serves two meals a day. On the weekend, it’s three. Sometimes, it receives enough to feed everyone. Sometimes, the food is in quantities that will be used to augment already-planned meals. “The food we receive helps us serve nutritious meals for our families,” Baker said.

Tim Trefzer, corporate social responsibility manager for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, has been working with Goodr for about a year. For many years, the authority has donated packaged and nonperishable food through its exclusive food service provider, Levy Restaurants.

“That food goes to a handful of ministries we work with,” Trefzer said. “But, Goodr allows us to expand the food we are saving. We’re able to capture, package and transport prepared hot food, something we did not do before. For example, during the Super Bowl, we hosted an event for the National Football League team owners. The ‘do-goodrs’ took the (extra) food from our trays, packaged it into their containers, and took it to those who could use it.”

On occasion, Goodr takes food directly to consumers, through a pop-up grocery store. In January, the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm held a dedication for the new basketball court at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center.

Neighborhood kids hung out with Hawks players while seniors “shopped” for free food that otherwise would have gone to waste. Clarence Hearns, associate vice president for human resources at State Farm, said the company saw this as a chance for its employees and agents “to be a part of the good work that Goodr is doing right here in Atlanta.”