Lyft partners with charity to provide grocery access to people in food deserts in DC

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Lyft is reportedly partnering with nonprofit organization Martha’s Table to help families in Washington, D.C., get affordable access to groceries.

Washington City Paper reported on Tuesday that the ride-sharing company will identify 500 families in Ward 7 and 8 to participate in the six-month pilot “Lyft Grocery Access” program.

The program will allow families to pay a $2.50 flat fee for shared rides to and from three full-service grocery stores.

{mosads}Lyft is working with Martha’s Table, a nonprofit charity and volunteer center, to pick the families.

The program will also accept families with children who participate in educational programs via Martha’s Table.

“We believe that access to healthy food is a basic human right and everyone regardless of zip code deserves it,” Martha’s Table’s senior director of health and wellness initiatives, Caron Gremont, told the paper.

“East of the river, they don’t have the same opportunities as the rest of residents do in D.C. It’s just wrong,” she continued. 

Each family selected for the program will be allowed to take 50 trips with Lyft priced at $2.50 each from Jan. 1 to June 30.

Lyft Mid-Atlantic General Manager Steve Taylor confirmed to the paper that the ride-sharing service will be subsidizing the cost of the rides so drivers can still earn the standard rate for the trips given under the program.

“We wanted to find a way for residents to have reliable access to fresh and healthy options for their family by reducing the time, transportation barriers, and the financial burden that comes with grocery shopping in these neighborhoods,” he said. “We think this is just the beginning, and we hope to continue to engage in D.C.’s food ecosystem beyond this pilot program.”

As the paper points out, by The D.C. Policy Center’s standards, Ward 7 and Ward 8 would be classified as the biggest food deserts in Washington.

Food deserts are characterized as areas where the majority of households don’t have access to a vehicle, do not live within a half-mile of a grocery store and have a median household income of “less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four – about $44,995 in 2015.”

Citing data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the center found that most of the neighborhoods in the city with the highest poverty rates are located in Ward 7, where the median household income is a little more than the federal poverty line at $45,469, and Ward 8, where the median household income falls below the federal poverty line at $32,967.

Tags Food desert Lyft Martha's Table

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