According to DoSomething.org, around 23.5 million people (half of which are low-income) live in food deserts, defined as “geographic areas where access to affordable, healthy food options (aka fresh fruits and veggies) is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away.” About 2.3 million people also live in low-income, rural areas more than 10 miles away from a supermarket—and Lyft wants to help out. Last year, the ride-sharing company announced a six-month pilot program in D.C. in partnership with Martha’s Table, a local non-profit, that provided families with rides to the supermarket for a flat rate of $2.50. The goal was to reduce the “time, transportation barrier, and financial burden” of grocery shopping, according to a statement—and after successfully testing in D.C. and expanding to Atlanta, that program is ready to go nationwide.
On Thursday, Lyft announced that the Grocery Access Program would expand to the following locations: Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, New Jersey, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, and Toronto, with plans to add more in the future. The average ride will still cost $2.50, like in the initial pilot, and Lyft will continue to work with local partners like Martha’s Table to run the programs and identify participants in need. The programs in Atlanta and D.C. are already live, with the other cities launching “soon,” according to Lyft.
“Village Super Market ShopRite is excited to partner with Lyft to bring this first of its kind Supermarket Access Program to the state of New Jersey,” Perry Blatt, director of marketing and business development at Village Super Market, said in a statement. “We currently work year round with the Community Food Bank of NJ to fight hunger in our local community, however this program will allow us to take our efforts to the next level. The ability to connect local residents in need with access to fresh foods is our ultimate goal.”
Walmart, Amazon, and ShopRite also announced last week that they are testing a program in New York that allows SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) shoppers to buy their groceries online and have them delivered to their home—the first program of its kind. Amazon and ShopRite will serve the New York City area; Walmart will focus on upstate New York. And expansion plans for Alabama, Maryland, Oregon, Iowa, Washington, New Jersey, and Nebraska are already in the works. To learn more, check out the full article.
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