Thanksgiving is a time to bring families together over a hot meal. But the pandemic has thrown a wrench in those plans. The usual hustle and bustle at the supermarket might feel a bit quieter this year. Not only are there physical distancing measures in place keeping people out of stores, but economic pressures have placed a strain on many families, forcing them to spend less and making it hard to put a large meal together. And that’s why the LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) brought Thanksgiving dinner right to the doorsteps of over 4,500 students and families in Akron, Ohio — with the help of Routific.
The Foundation used Routific’s route optimization software to make sure local families had a complete Thanksgiving meal. On Friday, November 20, over 4,500 students and families received turkeys and all the fixings needed for a hearty Thanksgiving feast, delivered straight to their doors thanks to the LeBron James Family Foundation’s partnership with Down Home Pantry Biscuits and The Akron Food Bank.
Organizing an event like this is no simple task. Delivering meals to 4,500 individuals works out to about 650 different stops in a single evening. Routes have to be optimized to save time and money, and trying to plan routes manually would take up too much time. In the past, the team would plan out routes by using Google Maps or just use their understanding of the city to navigate around town, hitting one stop at a time.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do this without Routific’s route optimization,” said Stephanie Myers from the LeBron James Family Foundation. “We worked with a team of volunteers to get hundreds of families everything they need for the holiday. And Routific helped us make sure everything was done quickly and efficiently.”
How they did it
Prior to the big delivery night, the LJFF uploaded a list of 650 addresses into Routific, along with 71 different volunteer drivers. Routific’s routing algorithm was then able to divide those routes among the 71 drivers, totalling 3116 minutes of drivetime and over 480 miles covered. Routific was able to optimize delivery routes, in a matter of minutes. Planning these routes by hand, or relying on tools like Google maps to handle a job of this size, likely would have taken hours.
Once they were ready to go, the team simply dispatched the routes to each volunteer driver and they were off! Drivers used Routific’s Driver app to navigate through town and complete each delivery along the way.
“The features from the Driver App are so useful,” continued Stephanie, who was able to track completion progress of the deliveries from Routific's Dispatcher View. "We are able to smoothly navigate from one stop to the next and can mark progress along the way. This was such a great way to have visibility of our entire project from start to finish.”
Routific was able to reliably produce 40% shorter routes for the volunteers. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“We’ve offered Routific for free to more than 450 nonprofits around the world delivering essential goods like food, medicine, and masks during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Routific co-founder Suzanne Ma. “ We are grateful for the chance to assist these organizations who continue to put themselves on the frontline in order to help those who are most vulnerable.”
About the LeBron James Family Foundation:
With a commitment to redefining community and building stronger families, The LeBron James Family Foundation invests its time, resources and passion into creating generational change for the kids and families of James’ hometown in Akron, Ohio through a focus on education and co-curricular educational initiatives. With its foundational I PROMISE Program, LJFF serves more than 1,500 students and their entire families by providing them with the fundamental resources, wraparound supports and family programming they need for success in school and beyond.
In 2018, the Foundation partnered with Akron Public Schools to build all of its family-first programming and academic interventions into the groundbreaking I PROMISE School that has created a new model for urban, public education. The Foundation has layered in additional resources including higher education and family supports at the I PROMISE Institute, transitional housing at the I PROMISE Village, longer-term housing at the upcoming I PROMISE Housing, and several hands-on supports in between. These life-changing resources, combined with the Foundation’s “We Are Family” philosophy are re-defining what a family and community looks like.
Suzanne Ma is a former journalist and published author turned co-founder at Routific, a route optimization platform. She loves to capture inspiring stories from small business entrepreneurs, and share their journeys of growth alongside Routific. As a Product Marketer, she ensures that the community stays up to date on the latest innovations at Routific.
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