United Way Worldwide announces the award-winning Ride United Last Mile Delivery program has made more than half a million deliveries in more than 350 communities since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, representing more than 5.6 million meals to date.
Ride United Last Mile Delivery was designed to fill the critical “last-mile” gap to accessing nutritious food and essential resources for clients who lack transportation. In partnership with DoorDash, Dashers make deliveries directly to households, meeting the needs of all family members, now including those with fur in a new pilot, adding PetSmart Charities to the collaboration with the delivery.
The United Nations’ World Food Day raises critical awareness regarding the causes of poverty and hunger, citing that 40 percent of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. To combat this issue in the US, local United Way offices and 211 agencies (an abbreviated telephone number providing information and referrals to health, human and social service organizations) are working with local agencies, food banks and grocery partners to identify those eligible. With support from partners including PetSmart Charities and DoorDash, Ride United maximizes the efficiency of its delivery model by bringing critical supplies to those impacted most by the pandemic’s reach.
“Pets are part of the family,” said Aimee Gilbreath, president at PetSmart Charities. “In the US, 70 percent of households have a pet, including many that experience food insecurity. We know some people will choose to feed their beloved pet before themselves. A lack of transportation makes it worse. But no one organization can solve hunger – and together with United Way and DoorDash, combining our resources means fewer people will have to make those impossible choices.”
Beginning Oct. 1 United Way Worldwide will host a two-week campaign culminating on World Food Day, to drive awareness of Ride United Last Mile Delivery and garner financial support to fund an additional 500,000 deliveries to meet increased year-end and holiday season demand.
For information on partnership opportunities or to make a donation, please visit: UnitedWay.org/RideUnited. (*Donations up to $600 made in 2021 are tax deductible.)
To learn about available local resources, including food, please call 211 or visit 211.org for more information.