412 Food Rescue founder Leah Lizarondo is being honored with the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award next month for her work “to strengthen democracy, increase economic opportunity and protect human rights.”
Since its inception five years ago, Lizarondo says the Pittsburgh-based food recovery organization has picked up and redistributed 8 million pounds of food across the region. Volunteers now work with about 600 nonprofits to distribute food to pantries, day care centers, work sites and more in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette and Washington counties. The model has since expanded to Vancouver, Philadelphia and Cleveland, with a goal spreading to 100 cities by 2030.
Lizarondo says she’s honored just to be in the company of her fellow awardees. “I definitely feel proud, and I share this award with Pittsburgh,” she says.
Lizarondo says Carnegie Mellon University is helping her figure out how to reach more rural areas through a pilot program in Greene County. If all goes well, she says more locales will follow soon.