Food insecurity in Chicago has become a major issue, with over 63 thousand people and 185 thousand children suffering from food insecurity in Cook County, IL, the fourth- and fifth-highest totals in the United States. 
As a local leader in the healthy meal delivery industry, Factor has joined forces with Replate, a nonprofit committed to feeding the hungry. In just three months the partnership has resulted in 2,900 meal donations!
To shed light on the cause and our combined efforts, we caught up with Replate Community & Social Media Coordinator, Charlotte Blumenthal. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: How Was Replate Started?
A: Replate began by delivering food directly to people living in [homeless] encampments and parks without the means to buy food. We then began forging relationships with recipient organizations, creating our current business-to-business model.
Q: What is Replate’s Mission Statement?
A: Replate creates technology and activates communities to redistribute surplus food to those experiencing food insecurity.
Q: How Does Replate’s Platform Work?
A: Replate’s tech-driven platform allows businesses to schedule pickups for their surplus food on-demand. Our food rescuers then deliver the donated food to people in need of food in your community.
Q: Where did the Idea of Replate Originate?
A: The idea for Replate came when our founder, Maen Mahfoud, was a student at UC Berkeley and saw a man pulling a sandwich out of a trash bin. Maen was astounded by the disparity in the Bay Area. With so much wealth in tech and so many unsure when they would eat next, he figured there had to be a better solution.
Q: How Is Replate Unique in Comparison to Other Philanthropic Organizations?
A: Replate differs from other food recovery services because we hire contracted Food Rescuers (drivers) that we pay a living wage. We do this to create meaningful jobs and to work with flexible employees who are committed to the cause, no matter the circumstances.
Q: How Has Being Located in the Heart of the Tech Industry Helped you Innovate?
A: Replate is both a nonprofit and a tech company. Being at the intersection of these two industries has allowed us to stay grounded and committed to our mission. Our proximity to the Bay Area has also helped us build and streamline the tech that makes our service simple and efficient.
Q: How Long Have Factor & Replate been Working Together?
A: We’ve been working together since May 2019.
Q: How have our Health-Conscious Meals Been Received in the Community?
A: Unbelievably well! The program manager at Teen Challenge sent us the loveliest note after the first Factor donation. They let us know how positive an experience it was to receive such easy to prepare healthy meals.
Q: What Nonprofits Have Received Our Meals?
A: Teen Challenge Chicago and Deborah’s Place. One of the things we’re proud of is the wide variety of demographics our recipients serve; these two organizations are emblematic of that. Teen Challenge helps men over the age of 18 who are battling life-controlling addictions. Deborah’s Place supports women as they transition out of homelessness.
Q: What Excites You Most About Our Partnership?
A: One of the happiest things about my job is hearing unsolicited positive feedback from our recipients. I really can’t stress enough how thrilled they have been with your donations. It’s a privilege to be able to provide our recipient organizations with food options they’re excited to share with their communities.
Nothing is better than hearing that the food we’re giving them allows them to focus more on their programming. Also, the people receiving services from these organizations don’t often have time to focus more on their programming. Food options that are as healthy and convenient as Factor75 meals provide these organizations and the people they serve with greater autonomy.
Q: How Can People Help Fight Food Insecurity in Chicago & Other Communities?
A: Find food recovery organizations in your Community! That said, the truest solution to fighting food insecurity is eliminating poverty. We know that our organization is not putting an end to the issue of food insecurity. Rather our food donations are a resource that allows our recipient organizations to have the bandwidth to concentrate more attention, time and resources on their core programming. When they don’t have to worry about financing meals, they can direct more energy toward helping people.
Do you want to help fight food insecurity in Chicago, or elsewhere? Follow the button below to learn how you can donate your time at a local food bank!