[By Nikki Gaskins]

BOWIE, MD – A popular transportation network wants to make it easier for folks to obtain healthy foods in Prince George’s County, particularly when they don’t have easy access to full-service grocery stores.

Lyft, in partnership with Capital Area Food Bank, is launching the area’s first grocery access program that, in its first phase, will help up to 100 families through June 2020, according to a news release.

The new grocery access program aims minimize the negative impacts of food deserts by making it easier, faster, and less expensive for residents in these areas to access affordable retail grocery options.

“In designing this program, we sought out partners with deep connections in the community,” Steve Taylor, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager at Lyft, said. “Martha’s Table, DC Greens, and now Capital Area Food Bank are natural fits for this program and have an understanding of the various issues that people with less access to full-service grocery stores regularly encounter.”

Through the program, eligible families will receive flat-fare Lyft shared rides of $2.50 to and from multiple grocery stores in Prince George’s County. Residents simply have to begin or end their trip at a participating grocery location:

  1. Aldi – 6301 Marlboro Pike

2. Giant Food – 5500 Silver Hill Rd.

3. Safeway – 7595 Greenbelt Rd.

“A quick trip to the grocery store is something that many of us take for granted, but that kind of easy access isn’t an option for thousands of our neighbors,” said Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank. “We’re so pleased to be partnering with Lyft to remove the transportation barrier that too often keeps people in areas with very few retail grocery options from being able to purchase affordable, healthy food for themselves and their families.”

The grocery access program is part of City Works, a Lyft initiative in which the transportation network partners with its community of drivers, riders, local activists and city leaders to achieve maximum positive impact in cities across North America. The grocery access program was piloted in Washington, D.C., where Lyft teamed up with grocery stores and nonprofit organizations to serve hundreds of families and provide thousands of discounted rides. As a result of the program’s success, the transportation network announced an expansion to other major metropolitan areas in North America in April 2019.

On Nov. 18, 2019, Lyft also announced the launch of the Baltimore Grocery Access Program, an initiative in partnership with Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Baltimore Development Corporation, and South Baltimore Gateway Partnership. The program will provide west and south Baltimore residents with a reliable and convenient way to access fresh, healthy food at participating neighborhood grocery stores.

~source