In response to the COVID-19 crisis and rising levels of hunger in communities nationally, United Way Worldwide is expanding Ride United, its transportation access initiative, to launch a “last mile” home delivery program that brings food and supplies to vulnerable populations in Baltimore.
United Way is partnering with DoorDash, the nation’s leading on-demand local logistics platform, to expand Ride United to include food delivery, starting in Baltimore and seven other communities: Akron, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; New Orleans; New York City; Tallahassee and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; and Ventura County, California.
The partnership leverages DoorDash’s last-mile logistics platform, including its fleet of Dashers, to power deliveries from local food banks, food pantries, and other distribution points to senior citizens, low-income families, and those who can’t leave home, providing meals to those in need and flexible earnings opportunities to Dashers in these unprecedented times.
Launched in 2019, United Way’s Ride United leverages local United Ways and 211 agencies in 27 cities across 17 states to provide more than 25,000 rides so far to job interviews, medical appointments, grocery stores, food pantries and more. The program is facilitated by 211, the vital service that connects millions of people to resources and assistance in the U.S. and Canada every year.
Since launching the “last mile” partnership in April, DoorDash, United Way and 211 have already delivered more than 15,000 food boxes to people in need. The “last mile” represents the last hurdle in getting food to people who are stuck at home during COVID-19, whether that’s because of health considerations or lack of public transit. In collaboration with local agencies, food banks and grocery partners, local United Ways and 211s are identifying available food for people who can’t travel, and arranging for deliveries powered by DoorDash.
The philanthropic and in-kind contributions from The Rockefeller Foundation, DoorDash, the Albertsons Companies Foundation, and the Why Not You Foundation, led by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Ciara, is paving the way for more deliveries in more cities in coming weeks, including the Pacific Northwest. United Way invites other philanthropic partners to join these efforts.
Those interested in supporting Ride United or learning more can visit UnitedWay.org/RideUnited. People who need help finding available local resources, including food, can call 211 or visit 211.org for more information.