One hundred thousand boxes of food and household supplies have been delivered to vulnerable populations in 175 United States communities through the Ride United Last-Mile Delivery initiative. This home delivery program was launched in April in response to the COVID-19 crisis to deliver food and supplies to vulnerable populations across the US and their milestone delivery also represents one million meals delivered to those in need.
Suzanne McCormick, US president of United Way Worldwide, a non-profit organization, says the last mile represents the final hurdle in getting food to people who have had to remain at home during COVID-19 because of health considerations or lack of public transit or childcare. She says United Ways and the 211 network, a referral and information helpline and website, have convened local agencies, food banks and grocery partners to identify available food for people who can't travel and arrange for deliveries.
Deliveries from local food banks, food pantries and other distribution points were provided mainly to older adults, low-income families and those who can't leave home, providing meals for those in need. One recipient from Akron, Ohio who benefited from the delivery services was a women and her husband who are both disabled and struggling to provide for their grandson.
The recipient told a 211 network operator that both the box of food and the delivery people, who always have a smiles on their faces, are true blessings. She says it means so much to her to be able to give her grandson some fruit juice when otherwise he would not be able have this treat and she wanted to make sure they knew how much their help means to them.
Another recipient who received assistance is from New Orleans in Los Angeles and has been displaced since Hurricane Katrina, moving from one family member’s home to another. She is currently staying with her nephew’s family and is thankful that the meal deliveries allow her to provide a little help to her hosts who are ensuring she has shelter during this time.