Lyft provides some PHA residents with affordable rides to the grocery store

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Lyft has launched a pilot program that provides affordable rides to grocery stores for residents at select Philadelphia Housing Authority sites.

Albert Dukes is making a list and checking it twice. A couple of times a month the Philadelphia native leaves the Nellie Reynolds Gardens home for seniors in North Philadelphia and heads to the grocery store well outside of his neighborhood.

"I love to go in the kitchen and use my spices and my herbs and explore and just put my love in cooking," said Dukes.

Lyft just launched a pilot program offering eight shared rides per month to residents of ten PHA properties for just $2.50 to and from a participating grocery store. It's part of the ride-sharing company's grocery access program. Nine cities around the country have a similar program in place.

"Even if the ride is more than $5, Lyft is picking up the rest of the tab so it will never cost these residents more than $5," said Nichole Tillman of Philadelphia Housing Authority.

"Our goal is to do a 6 month pilot here in Philadelphia and ideally we are going to launch this across the city, right now we are focused in North Philadelphia," said Natalie Coy of Lyft.

For seniors living on a fixed income just getting to the grocery store can put a dent in their already tight budget, which means less food on the table.

The program is a partnership between PHA, Lyft and Uplift Solutions. Uplift Solutions works to provide underserved communities with access to healthy food.

"It's growing because even in Philadelphia you know that there's been a couple of supermarkets that closed here and so there's more and more food deserts actually being created," said Atif Bostic, executive director for Uplift Solutions.

Though his grocery bags are a little heavier, Dukes says this program has lightened a much heavier burden.

"Oh my gosh, I was so excited right now I feel like this is the greatest thing since sliced bread," said Dukes.

ONLINE: Upliftsolutions.org.
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