If Ebenezer Scrooge taught us anything, it’s that the holidays are the season for second chances. Miserly Manhattanites, who were recently pilloried after being outed as the city’s worst tippers for food deliveries, can save themselves simply by ordering take out – but not through Seamless.
Sharebite, a new food-ordering app dedicated to making a social impact, has partnered with City Harvest to launch “Take-Out Hunger,” a campaign they hope will help feed 100,000 New Yorkers battling hunger this holiday season. Similar to other delivery apps like Seamless or GrubHub, Sharebite charges a fee to all participating restaurants and donates $0.26 from each order to City Harvest, a food rescue organization committed to helping New Yorkers who face hunger. That $0.26 is enough to pay for one meal for a child, according to City Harvest.
“We’re in one of the richest cities in the world, yet nearly one in four children are facing hunger,” says Mohsin Memon, the founder of Sharebite. “What can we do about that?” Memon says the idea for the app was first conceived last year while he worked on a project with City Harvest at Columbia Business School. “If everyone who ordered takeout used Sharebite, we could make a huge impact in helping to eliminate hunger citywide.”
In addition to the per-order donations, through December, Sharebite plans to contribute ten meals to City Harvest for every new customer who orders a meal using their app. And local New York companies, Icon Parking and TF Cornerstone — a real estate developing firm — have chipped in to match a meal every time customers place orders.
“We’ve already matched 20,000 meals in the first two weeks of December,” Memon says.
Despite reports of a strengthening economy, nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers are food-insecure, meaning they don’t always know where or when their next meal will come, says Cara Taback, spokesperson for City Harvest. Since last year, its network of soup kitchens and food pantries has seen 1.3 million more visits.
The Sharebite app, available for both iPhones and Androids, also gives users the option of choosing from more than a million other charities, with the company donating two percent of any order to the organization the customers select. Memon says that more than 1,000 Manhattan restaurants have signed up so far. He plans to expand the roster beyond Manhattan to include more eateries in other boroughs in coming months.