New Grocery Access Program Connects Families with Fresh, Healthy Food

Lyft partners to get people to the grocery store who don't have one nearby.

For people living in food deserts, getting to the closest grocery store isn't always easy. Most of the time, people use public transportation and can only make the trip at certain times of the week, or month, depending on their family's budget.

You might be asking, what, exactly, is a food desert? It's an area that has limited access to fresh, high quality and affordable food due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers' markets and other food providers, usually in an impoverished area.

Recently, ridesharing giant Lyft has started a program to help with this problem. The Lyft Grocery Access program was first launched in Washington D.C. and now it's coming to Pittsburgh (among other cities). The program will provide discounted rides to people who can't easily access a grocery store.

The Pittsburgh Housing Authority launches the Lyft Grocery Access Program at Bedford Dwellings

For Pittsburgh, participants will get up to 8 discounted rides per month (that's 4 roundtrip rides) to nearby Giant Eagle supermarkets. The rides cost $2.50 each and riders just need to enter a special code on the Lyft app when they book their rides.

Pilot programs have already launched in a few communities in East Pittsburgh with more to come.

"Forty-seven percent of the people who live in the city don't have access to a grocery store," Mayor Bill Peduto told KDKA-TV .

"It can be a big challenge to transport frozen goods or lots of groceries using public transportation," Josh Huber, Lyft Pittsburgh's General Manager told NEXTPittsburgh . "The Grocery Access Program allows people to get exactly what they need, when they need it. We're excited to be part of the solution."

Since Lyft has recently gone public, they want to focus more on projects that help communities, and as Huber says, their aim is to become "a public company for the public good."

Other regions where the Grocery Access Program is hoping to take shape include Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Indianapolis.

If you'd like to support the program by becoming a program implementor or funding rides for communities in need, you can click the "Get Involved" button on the program's website.

(Source: Images @HACPgh )

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