How Unsung is using the sharing economy to fight hunger - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 14, 2016 12:29 pm

How Unsung is using the sharing economy to fight hunger

The app-based nonprofit delivers food that would otherwise go to waste to people who need it.

Unsung delivers food to those in need.

(Courtesy photo)

The sharing economy typically solves first-world problems, but here’s something novel.

Instead of getting young professionals their food faster, a Baltimore startup is using the sharing economy model to get food to people who need it most.

Based out of the Emerging Technology Centers’ Haven Campus, Jason King is leading the development of Unsung, which, according to its website, is “hacking homeless hunger.”

Work started about a year ago on the app-based service, which allows food businesses to arrange pickup of food that’s slated to go to waste. Restaurants, bakeries and caterers often get rid of food at the end of the day.

“Getting ahold of food is not an issue,” said King, a heavily bearded former homeless outreach worker who ran across the country to raise bitcoins for the homeless a couple of years ago.

Volunteers repackage the food, and drive it to places like shelters, encampments or directly to people in need. They’re a lot like other sharing economy drivers, setting their own schedules.

King said Unsung has a presence in D.C., Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, and has a team of developers working in various places. But Baltimore is where it’s based, and where the devs gathered over the summer to work on the app.

Days before the end of the stint, they suffered a break-in. Undaunted, the team is working toward a full launch later this fall.

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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Technical.ly Baltimore and Technical.ly DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.

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