One of the unfortunate effects of an economic shutdown has been an abundance of food supplies that aren’t being used by restaurants and grocers. Hundreds of tons of near-expiry food would be going to waste if it weren’t for Diana Lee’s brainchild, the Do-Good Auto Coalition.
According to the Do-Good Auto Coalition website, food insecurity is a reality for more than 38 million Americans. With unemployment at record highs and millions unsure where their next nutritious meal will come from, the Do-Good Auto Coalition, or DGAC in short, aims to put the overabundance of food supplies to good use by getting it into the hands of those who need it.
How It Started
Seeing the need for quality food supplies in their own communities, Diana Lee and Matt Woodruff of Constellation Agency took action. The goal was to establish a platform that connected those with excess food with people who need it.
From spending 30 years in auto sales, Diana knew that dealerships had the resources to help out. She says, “Dealerships have all the resources to fill the void. They have the staff and they have the cars to deliver groceries and meals. The problem is that they don’t know where the needs exist in their own communities.”
They started the Do-Good Auto Coalition and quickly received buy-in from local organizations and dealerships. Through the website, DGAC matches dealerships up with requests for assistance to handle the logistics – the manpower, time commitment, and mode of transport.
What DGAC Does
Diana explained to CBT News that food banks exist in every community and usually more than one. Food requests are often submitted to more than one organization and efforts are duplicated, making them less efficient than they could be.
What the DGAC does is coordinate needs across a community to deliver food to the needy, the vulnerable populations, the elderly, first responders, and so on. Requests are consolidated by DGAC to streamline deliveries. Diana says, “What we found were duplicate efforts across multiple organizations, and deliveries weren’t done efficiently. More than one driver could be dispatched to the same neighborhood, and even make a drop-off at the same building. By combining efforts, we can get food out to more people, more efficiently.”
Dealer Participation High
Hundreds of dealerships have signed up to help in Mike and Diana’s initiative. Someone from their team picks up meals or groceries from participating organizations, be it restaurants, grocers, or food banks, and delivers to those who have made requests. Typically, one driver takes around 20 deliveries at a time, taking around four hours to complete, although it depends on the size of their vehicle. Diana mentioned that some drivers have taken as many as 60 deliveries at a time.
“Interestingly, we’ve found that more dealer principals are helping out on their own. Some stores send parts drivers or someone else to help out, but it seems that the dealers themselves really want to help make a difference.”
DGAC Going Forward
DGAC has developed a heat map for Newark in partnership with the mayor’s office to best identify where the needs are. The idea is to expand this to other areas, and to engage dealers and communities in other cities and states.
There are hundreds of stories of dealers who have helped the needy in their neighborhoods already, and there’s always room for more. If you’re a dealer who wants to make a difference in your community, DGAC facilitates easy enrolment on their website, or click here.
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