PHILADELPHIA—The City of Philadelphia’s SmartCityPHL program today announced its latest Pitch & Pilot challenge, which requests proposals for a platform to support the logistics and distribution of meals to food-insecure Philadelphians.

The platform should also support the City’s commitment to contract with more small and local businesses, particularly those owned by traditionally disadvantaged groups. The City distributes tens of thousands of meals daily to hundreds of sites. The goal is to use technology to handle the logistical challenge of reliably sourcing and distributing meals from multiple vendors, making it more likely that local businesses could participate in this effort.

“The local food industry is one of many sectors struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the City is providing free meals to food-insecure Philadelphians,” said Emily Yates, Smart City Director. Making it easy for the City to coordinate supply with local businesses is a win-win for those hardest hit by the economic downturn and a way to support a just recovery.

If the resulting platform can demonstrate its ability to reliably source and distribute a portion of those meals from some of Philadelphia’s many restaurants and caterers, the City could consider scaling up its application. The City’s request for proposals emphasizes that proposed solutions should be adaptable for future use cases. In addition to supporting the thousands of meals provided daily, the platform could be adapted to other large procurements. The platform could also be extended to include other services that support meal distribution, such as local delivery services or the provision of reusable service items.

The goal is to provide critical services and goods to existing City programs while also contributing to local economic resiliency and supporting local jobs.

Pitch & Pilot is an outgrowth of the SmartCityPHL Roadmap, spearheaded by the Office of Innovation and Technology (OIT).  Pitch & Pilot solicits, tests, and evaluates technology-enabled approaches to municipal government challenges. 

The Request for Proposals is open through March 26, 2021 and can be viewed on the City’s eContractPhilly website as opportunity #21210223140040.