Food rescue app ChowBank acquired by MEANS Database

MEANS Database, a nonprofit that connects food donors to pantries and kitchens, announced today at the World Food Prize Foundation’s Iowa Hunger Summit its acquisition of Des Moines-based food rescue app ChowBank.

Since its debut in 2015, ChowBank helped users like Eat Greater Des Moines as the organization rescued nearly twenty million pounds of food that were redirected to feed food insecure Iowans. ChowBank’s acquisition provides MEANS Database with a proven, easy to use, food rescue app that can handle the user growth it has achieved through innovative partnerships with organizations like Grubhub. 

“ChowBank has been a powerful tool for expanding food recovery engagement,” said Eat Greater Des Moines’s Executive Director Aubrey Alvarez in a release. “ChowBank’s simplicity drew in new caterers, restaurateurs, and organizations who were excited by how easy it was to redirect excess food towards helping feed vulnerable Iowans.”

ChowBank was originally commissioned by Eat Greater Des Moines’s Alvarez to help the community connect with immediate opportunities to rescue food that would otherwise be wasted. ChowBank was built by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI) Prometheus Award winning development team of Thomas Klein, Mike Henry, and Sydney Henry. While Chris Draper and Klein oversaw steady growth in the number of users and pounds rescued in recent years, the MEANS acquisition will allow ChowBank to achieve its full potential for supporting those in need.

“Few get the opportunity to help so many in times of need,” said Draper. “Being able to hand our efforts off so Sammie [Paul] and the MEANS team can maximize ChowBank’s potential is beyond exciting.”

“We’re extremely excited by how ChowBank can let us expand our mobile experience,” said MEANS Database Executive Director Sammie Paul. “While our footprint is national, most of our team’s hearts are still in Iowa where MEANS started. The technological, operational, and inspirational alignments this acquisition brings will help MEANS take our impact to the next level.”

The MEANS Database acquisition of ChowBank will be seamless for current users and organizations, with users and organizations able to donate and accept rescued food as normal. As ChowBank is fully integrated into the MEANS Database technology suite, users will see more options to engage with more communities across the nation.

“We’ve been incredibly impressed by the MEANS team,” said Draper. “And can’t wait to see where their vision, determination and commitment take ChowBank.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.