Phone app to help local food banks

Club Appetite is an app that will provide food banks with some much needed donations

A soon to be released app is looking to change the food bank system.

Club Appetite is an app for all mobile devices and computers that is currently in production in Kelowna. It’s a fundraising app for food banks, and Co-Founder Jordan Dunlop explained they want it to benefit the entire community.

“You’ve got the food banks, but then you’ve got the businesses and the individual users,” Dunlop said. “We took the idea of ‘what’s in it for me’ from every single angle, and by doing this we actually came up with a whole new form of advertising called communitising.”

The app incorporates each of the food bank, donor and local business in finding ways they all benefit. To start, the user browses a virtual grocery store on the app. They choose an item to purchase for the food bank, and the food bank receives a donation equal to the listed value of the chosen item. The app users who make the donations then receive a tax receipt and accrue points from their ‘purchase’, which they can redeem at local businesses for things like a free cup of coffee. The businesses benefit from having traffic driven to their stores, making it a win/win/win situation.

Food banks have buying power, which enables them to purchase more food than regular consumers for the same amount of money. As a result, they benefit more from having money to buy what they need, when they need it. Dunlop and his team are aware of that, so they wanted to make sure the food banks receive as much as possible from each donation. To facilitate that they began by paying for processing fees themselves, making a 20% donation of their own alongside every donation, and Dunlop is working on lining up national partners that will also make a donation whenever a user does.

“The executive director (of a food bank) has no idea what the donations are going to be the next day,” Dunlop said. “So things typically run very reactively right now. We want to flip the system. If we take all of Kelowna and say we can get 15,000 to 16,000 users, which we’re not going to, we’re counting on 5,000 users. But if we have those 5,000 users donating ten dollars a month on average, that’s $600,000 over the course of a year. Then we’re going to kick in another 20% as well, so now the food bank has $700,000 just from the donors.”

Add in the food bank’s buying power, and that total jumps even higher.

“(The food banks) know how many people they have over the course of a year, and now they know how much money they’ll have,” he said. “They can start proactively buying and planning proactive meals that will are nutritious and will stretch out much further than five days.”

Club Appetite will be working with food banks across Canada, all of which will be opening this summer. The first Okanagan food bank to begin working with Club Appetite will be the one in Vernon, which launches on June 13th. Although the Club Appetite offices are located in Kelowna, the Kelowna food bank will be one of the last to open, as it won’t be until sometime in fall. Dunlop explained the late opening is because they are planning something special for the Kelowna food bank, although he wouldn’t reveal just what that is as of yet.

In the future the Club Appetite system can be used for all kinds of charities, and while Dunlop noted that is something they have thought of, for now they are just focusing on food banks.