INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A pilot program is expanding to the city’s west and near north sides to help families get to and from grocery stores. The Lyft Grocery Access pilot provides $1 Lyft rides to and from stores for families living in areas of limited food access.
The pilot first launched in July on the city’s far east side. So far, it has provided more than 1,000 rides to over 130 people.
The expanded pilot will serve residents in an area bounded by 42nd Street on the north, St. Clair Street on the south, Meridian Street on the east, and Riverside Drive on the west. Participants will have the option to choose from several area grocery stores, including Cleo’s Bodega Grocery and Cafe, Kroger (both 2630 West Michigan Street and 524 East 16th Street locations), Save A Lot, Saraga International Grocery and Safeway.
The announcement was made at Cleo’s Bodega Grocery and Cafe Wednesday, which opened on the near northeast side this summer.
“I have had some customers been moved to tears because they say I finally have someplace I can walk to if I need to,” said Torian Jones, inventory manager.
Some neighbors say this business makes a big difference because now people can walk to a grocery store. Driving to one is not as easy for some people.
“After bills, after food, after providing for their family, they just don’t have the money for a car payment,” said Jones.
More than 200,000 people in Indianapolis live in food deserts. Some in the community believe this program will make it easier for families to get healthy food.
“Trying to find someone in the middle of the day when a lot of your kids and grandkids are working, that kind of puts everybody on conflicting schedules,” said Ronald Rice, a resident.
More than 1 in 5 people in Indianapolis are food insecure. It makes access to healthy and affordable food a concern to many residents. Rice says this program allows people to choose where they shop.
“That’s community,” he said. “That is what community is supposed to be about. All of us helping one another.”
The 2020 City-County budget includes a further $500,000 investment to develop a multi-year plan to address food issues in Indianapolis too as well as launch the Indy Food Fund, a neighborhood-based grant program.