Living far from a grocery store without reliable access to transportation can make eating healthy nearly impossible. Often, people can’t access fresh fruits or veggies, and are dependent on fast food restaurants and corner stores. However, the expansion of one Lyft program may be able to help with that.
Last year, the ride-share company piloted its Lyft Grocery Access program in Washington, D.C. This program provided families living in food deserts with a $2.50 flat fare to get to the grocery store. Today, Lyft announced that the program would be expanding across the country.
In a blog post, Lyft said:
“Through this expansion, we look forward to partnering with local organizations and nonprofits to provide low-income families and seniors living in food deserts with deeply discounted flat fare rides to get to and from grocery stores. Affordable and reliable access to transportation can have a huge impact on this problem, and we want to help.”
About 23.5 million people in the United States live in food deserts and nearly half of them are low-income. Food deserts are areas where access to affordable, healthy food is limited or nonexistent because grocery stores are too far away.
In D.C., Lyft’s pilot program helped give Latinique Cooper peace of mind.
“The program has taken a load off my shoulders. I can bring healthy food home consistently and not have to worry about the amount I have to carry and when I will need to restock. It’s a big help for seniors and for tired moms and dads,” Cooper shared.
Lyft partners with local organizations and nonprofits like, Martha’s Table, as part of the program. Tiffany Williams, Chief Programs Officer at Martha’s Table, described it as an “innovative partnership” that helps “reduce the time, transportation, and financial barriers to healthy food access.”
The company will continue to connect with local organizations as the program expands. In Miami, Lyft will partner up with Health in the Hood, a nonprofit that brings community gardens to food deserts.
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Lyft! This groundbreaking initiative will connect families in food deserts to healthy grocery options that they would otherwise not be able to access. Lyft and Health in the Hood are creating healthier communities one ride at a time!,” Health in the Hood Executive Director, Asha Walker, said.
The program will first expand to: Atlantic City, Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Richmond, and Toronto.
More cities will be added later this year.