GiftAMeal continues to expand reach of hunger-fighting app with new chain restaurant partnership

GiftAMeal, a mobile app that helps people discover new restaurants and provide meals to the food-insecure, announced today that it has teamed up with Lion’s Choice, a St. Louis-based regional chain (with locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas City) that has been serving roast beef sandwiches since 1967. Beginning today, Lion’s Choice customers are eligible…

Photo courtesy of GiftAMeal, Lions Choice
Photo courtesy of GiftAMeal, Lions Choice

GiftAMeal, a mobile app that helps people discover new restaurants and provide meals to the food-insecure, announced today that it has teamed up with Lion’s Choice, a St. Louis-based regional chain (with locations throughout Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas City) that has been serving roast beef sandwiches since 1967.

Beginning today, Lion’s Choice customers are eligible to take photos for charity on the free GiftAMeal mobile app. For each photo taken, a meal will be provided locally through an existing network of hunger relief nonprofits (such as Operation Food Search). If a guest then shares their GiftAMeal photo on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then a second, third, or fourth meal is provided—i.e., one meal for each social share.

The partnership represents a significant step for the use of technology to fight hunger. It’s also a win for GiftAMeal, which, according to CEO and founder Andrew Glantz, now has 40,000 users. 

Since its inception in 2015—when Glantz was still in college—GiftAMeal has provided nearly 600,000 free meals to food-insecure people via its 240 partner restaurants, as well as food pantry collaborators in St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit. The app’s partnership with Lion’s Choice represents something of a proving ground for greater expansion.

“We’ve worked with a lot of mom and pop restaurants, local chains, franchisees, smaller restaurant groups, but this is the first bigger chain that we’ve worked with to scale, so we want to make sure we can make this as successful as possible,” Glantz said. “And then from there, we’re going to see how we can bring GiftAMeal nationwide.”

Lion’s Choice has a long history of charitable involvement in its communities, donating both money and food in response to local needs, according to president and CEO Michael Kupstas. By partnering with GiftAMeal, the 27-restaurant chain hopes to involve customers in what Kupstas considers a deeply held brand value.

“I’m so grateful we’re in a position to be bolstering the incredible work done by organizations like Operation Food Search,” Kupstas said. “(Fighting hunger is) a cause close to my heart and close to the heart of our business, and we’re very excited to be partnering with GiftAMeal to make a difference locally.”

Kristen Wild, Executive Director of St. Louis-based hunger-relief nonprofit Operation Food Search, said the organization relies on such partnerships to expand its reach and impact the lives of more families.

“Lion’s Choice is a dedicated supporter of our work and our mission to heal hunger,” Wild said. “We’re grateful they are teaming up with GiftAMeal, whose program of social photo sharing provides valuable funding and tremendous visibility and enthusiasm from the community. We’re proud to call both organizations partners and look forward to the results of this year-round campaign.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of people to experience food insecurity for the first time, according to a report by Feeding America, a Chicago-based nationwide network of food pantries. Even with organizations like Operation Food Search providing 50 tons of food daily to metro areas, that is still not enough to solve the issue, which Kupstas said requires the kind of collaborative approach demonstrated by Lion’s Choice, GiftAMeal, technology users and restaurantgoers. 

“We all have the power to help those around us,” Kupstas said.

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