Startup founded by campus alumnus delivers gourmet food to needy communities

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Re-plate/Courtesy

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Replate, an organization that delivers gourmet food to communities in need founded by campus alumnus Maen Mahfoud in January 2016, has continued to grow and expand within the Bay Area and other cities nationwide, including New York City and Los Angeles.

Replate uses a mobile application to send drivers to corporate offices and tech companies to pick up leftover gourmet food and delivers the food to shelters, kitchens, nonprofits and the homeless community.

“We try to reduce food waste and feed the hungry, but at the end of the day our core mission is to remind people that there are other people hungry across the street,” Mahfoud said.

Mahfoud, who immigrated from Syria about eight years ago, said he expected America to be a country where “everyone is rich (and) everyone is happy.” It came as a shock when he saw people on the street, which prompted him to start helping people.

He began to deliver food to the homeless community free of charge to the companies that gave him leftovers and his idea spread through word of mouth.

Currently there are more than 150 donors, including Facebook and Yelp. In addition, 35 community organizations have been working with Replate to provide meals to those in need. On Fridays, their busiest day of the week, Replate does about 40 to 50 pickups. In the Bay Area alone, Replate amasses about 160 pickups weekly.

“Last year around Thanksgiving, we had more food than we ever had … we tried to reach out to as many shelters and kitchens as we could until we filled them all up,” said Hooman Yavi, Replate co-founder and corporate secretary.

LifeMoves, a homeless services provider that Replate has been working with, has been getting food from Replate for at least half of its approximately 17 shelters.

“It really does benefit our community,” said Lori Mangual, associate director of operations at LifeMoves. “Hopefully it grows and catches on and they continue to build on what they have.”

Since the company has been founded, Replate has recovered about 550,000 pounds of surplus food, which prevented hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. Replate has also created 470,000 meals for low income communities.

So far, the company is growing at 10 percent per month and are hoping to recover about 150 thousand pounds a week by 2020.

In addition, 20 of Replate’s drivers come from low-income communities.

Replate has also opened day-long “pop-up diners,” which serve food on the street where people can come to the diner to take food rather than traveling to a shelter or kitchen.

Contact Atira Nair at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @atirastar.

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied that Replate has fewer than its more than 150 donors.

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  • M K-C

    Fantastic idea! Would love to help with this…