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June 2022

Food Connect Explores a New Frontier

Food Connect and its app were launched in 2016 as a volunteer operation but today, with Barra’s support, it’s a full-blown and growing nonprofit organization with a mission to help people who face food insecurity.

A Catalyst Grant and an additional emergency grant during the pandemic made it possible for Food Connect founder, Megha Kulshreshtha, to design, build, and expand an innovative tool that is helping to address a long-term barrier within the hunger relief network.

When Megha, a data analyst and entrepreneurial thinker, had the idea to connect restaurants and other food vendors with those facing hunger issues, she tapped into her professional skills, personal instincts and a network of analysts to find a solution. That was the beginning of Food Connect, a portal and app that uses analytics and a mapping system to help identify where food is needed and how to quickly transport it to organizations and operations that provide food to people who need it most.

Catalyst grants are designed to bring to life new concepts that have the potential to contribute solutions to major problems that plague Philadelphia. And we know the key is to provide entrepreneurs like Megha with necessary risk capital to test hypotheses and move good ideas to reality. Megha says that kind of philanthropy funding is not easy to find.

“We’re so grateful for grants like this. I can’t express how difficult it is to innovate and to provide certainty when we are trying to explore a new frontier. Sometimes it becomes a balancing act.”

Today, Megha, her small staff and a growing pool of volunteers continue to expand their operation and test new ways to improve their Partner Portal and app to decrease the growing percentage of people in Philadelphia who face food insecurity.