NorthState Tech Lab Spotlight- Food Drivers

When Tyson Glover was a senior at Elon University just a few years ago, he faced a common college student problem on his way across campus one morning: he was late to class.  With his head down and his feet moving fast to get him there as quickly as possible, Tyson wasn’t paying attention to a driver coming through campus, and the driver almost didn’t see him either.  Luckily they avoided any sort of accident, but Tyson did notice one thing about the car as it passed him.  It was being driven by a teenager learning how to drive, with a bold “Student Driver” label on the side of the vehicle.

As he pressed on to make it to class – an entrepreneurship class, no less – Tyson thought about the odd situation student drivers are in…they aren’t really going anywhere.  They have no real destination.  They just need the time behind the wheel to practice all that they need to know about driving, and they often drive around aimlessly to bulk up on those hours.  He wondered what could be done to make their time behind the wheel productive, and an idea was born: Food Drivers.

The idea behind Food Drivers is simple, but incredibly impactful: have teenagers who are in the midst of accumulating driving hours to be able to obtain their licenses be the transportation for food donations throughout the community.  For instance, Food Drivers could be made aware of a grocery store that has been selling pre-made food donation bags at the register to customers as they check out.  Food Drivers would see which driving training sessions might have that store on a route and be able to stop, pick up those food bags, and then deliver them to their intended distribution destination, whether that be a church, community center other non-profit organization.  The groups get the donated food they need for their clientele and the student drivers rack up their much-needed time in the car.  As a bonus, these hours can also count as community service time, which is often needed by high school students.

Still in the “proof of concept” stage and currently only connected with groups in Alamance County, Tyson is excited about being a part of NorthState’s Tech Lab cohort this summer because he would love to see what bringing Food Drivers to Guilford County could look like.  “I’m really looking forward to ‘test driving’ this idea and connecting with the other groups and other resources in the Greensboro area to help make Food Drivers a reality. We have enough food.  It’s just a matter of getting it to the right places,” he says.  “Being a part of Tech Lab is going to open up great avenues for Food Drivers in terms of networking in the Greensboro and Guilford County areas as well as gaining great feedback from entrepreneurial businesses in the group who are already up and running.”

Tyson – who currently works full-time in the Elon University Admissions Office – wants Food Drivers to be “an efficient addition to organizations” that they work with and also hopes that the service may even help to generate new food donation sources as time goes on.  “Of all of the things that we have seen during COVID, one of those has been the need for consistent food donations for those who need them most,” he says.  “One day, I hope that Food Drivers helps answer the call for such needs.”

For more information on Food Drivers or to learn more about how to partner with them as either an organization or a donation resource, visit fooddrivers.org.