DoorDash Offers the ‘know-how’ to Food Banks

By offering its delivery platform technology to food banks for free, DoorDash, like a growing number of companies, is providing something that many nonprofits say is even more valuable than cash — know-how.

Susan Goodell, CEO of the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank needed help in distributing their food to the needy.

“We were getting just horrible phone calls from our seniors, from people with disabilities, people who were COVID-positive and couldn’t leave their homes to get food,” Goodell said. “We were distributing food here at the site and other sites from about 6 a.m. till about 7 at night. Then, at the end of the day, the staff would pack up food and deliver it to people’s homes.”

Goodell, without delay accepted DoorDash’s offer. Demand quickly ramped up. The program, in El Paso, Texas, now delivers 2,100 orders of food banks supplies each week, and there’s a waiting list to join.

It’s just the result that DoorDash had intended.

“Food banks have really had to rise to the occasion with innovating and definitely changing the way that they’re engaging with their clients and the way that they’re distributing food,” said Brittany Graunke, DoorDash’s general manager of government and nonprofit. The company modified one of its existing programs, Project DASH, to help them out.

Project DASH had emerged in 2017 from an idea that originated with employees, who proposed it as a way to pick up excess food from restaurants and distribute it to community organizations.

When COVID-19 hit, Graunke said, DoorDash saw how much demand food banks across the country were facing and realized that Project DASH could be modified to help. DoorDash began reaching out to food banks across the country through Feeding America and was surprised by the intensity and ingenuity of the responses.

At this point, DoorDash provides the technology as well as the delivery people.