The Plentiful App: Saving Time for Food Pantries and the People They Serve

Plentiful was developed by the Helmsley-funded New York City Food Assistance Collaborative and is the first-ever mobile app for food pantry clients. Plentiful enables anyone with a mobile phone to easily find and make “Open Table-like” reservations to pick up food at a pantry – saving hours of time normally spent in line and avoiding cumbersome check-in procedures. It also provides pantries with simple, powerful tools to communicate with clients directly.

Since its inception in 2017, Plentiful has:

  • Been adopted by 235 pantries in New York City;
  • Enabled 1 million client visits; and
  • Served over 250,000 unique clients.

The app was created when the Collaborative, an alliance of New York City’s top emergency food providers led by the Director of Food Policy for the Mayor's Office, Barbara Turk, came together to identify needs and close gaps in emergency food delivery. With pooled funding and a shared vision of a better client experience, the Collaborative created something that could never have transpired without mutual commitment.

Plentiful is client-centered, giving the client more access to information and more control of their valuable time. Field studies at pantries suggest that by making reservations with Plentiful, clients save over one hour of time per visit, on average.

Impressed by early progress, in 2018 Helmsley funded efforts to create a mission-driven business plan to scale and sustain Plentiful. The Collaborative’s support team, Redstone Strategy Group, developed a plan to raise revenue by elevating the voice of hard-to-reach families affected by hunger and poverty throughout the US so that this first-of-its-kind app can help even more people access food pantries with efficiency and dignity.