The investment firm of Melinda Gates has invested $250,000 in the non-profit organisation serving those suffering from food insecurity

Helping Hands Community, a non-profit serving those suffering from food insecurity in the US, has secured a $250,000 strategic investment from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates to advance social progress in the US.

The charity was created in March last year to support individuals most at risk for Covid-19. Helping Hands Community’s technology platform connects food banks, food pantries, and other community organizations with volunteers and logistics providers, such as like Uber and Lyft, to safely deliver goods straight to the door of their vulnerable constituents.

“Helping Hands’ empowers local non-profits to dramatically scale their impact through last-mile delivery technology, creating a ripple effect on communities,” said John Sage, chief executive at Pivotal Ventures.

Pivotal invests in innovative solutions that help people improve their own lives and the lives of others. “The investment in Helping Hands will do just that,” said Sage.

The Helping Hands platform has proven crucial amid the pandemic, as food insecurity – the lack of access to quality food – has skyrocketed. Feeding America predicts that 42 million people, including 13 million children, will experience food insecurity in 2021, a 16% increase from 2019.

Further, many who are experiencing this hardship today cannot travel to pick up food due to economic, childcare, or transportation reasons, or because they are at high-risk for Covid-19. Home delivery is the only way to serve the most vulnerable constituents who cannot safely leave their homes. As such, non-profits have been put in a perilous position over the past year, as the pandemic has increased demand while making it harder to provide services to those in need.

Jeff Miller, chief executive and co-founder of Helping Hands, said: “Equipped with learnings from many years with Uber, our co-founding team started Helping Hands at the beginning of the pandemic with a simple goal: build a technology solution to serve the most vulnerable members of our communities.

“Since inception, I’m proud that Helping Hand’s technology platform has helped to deliver over 500,000 meals, to more than 50,000 families impacted by food insecurity across the country.”

 For Miller, Pivotal’s investment is an exciting validation of Helping Hands’ impact and will allow the organisation to extend its technology solution to more food banks, enabling them to deliver a premium level of home-delivery service to their constituents.

Looking beyond the global pandemic, home delivery can be a better and more equitable way to serve people by saving them time and money associated with going to local food pantries.

Premium service levels that save people time have given rise to the on-demand economy and to companies like Uber. Helping Hands Community extends this similar premium service to those who need it most, conveniently getting them the food they need at their doorstep.

Pivotal Ventures investment will also allow Helping Hands to augment its current organisation of 150 part-time volunteers with some critical full-time paid roles, to expand the capabilities of its tech platform and extend it to more partners across the country.

Date published: 29 April 2021

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