United Way of Westchester and Putnam announced that on Wednesday, Feb. 3 its 10,000 delivery of meals, food boxes, and household supplies to vulnerable populations throughout Westchester and Putnam counties was completed through the Ride United Last-Mile Delivery initiative. This milestone delivery also marks the delivery of one million meals to those in need throughout the country. The United Way Ride United Last-Mile home delivery program launched locally in July in response to the COVID-19 crisis to deliver food and essential goods to vulnerable populations in communities across the U.S.
United Way’s partnership with DoorDash and generous funding from donors including The Rockefeller Foundation and Safeway Stores’ Nourishing Neighbors program enabled delivery services of food boxes from local food banks, food pantries, and other distribution points to older adults, low-income families, and those who can’t leave home, providing meals to those in need. The most common client profiles are:
- Female, senior citizens, living alone
- High risk, immuno-compromised, populations that are vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, and must quarantine, yet who are food insecure and need access charitable food
- People who have lost jobs/wages, are without transportation or childcare and who need charitable food
“The last mile represents the final hurdle in getting food to people who must remain at home due to COVID-19 and who experience food insecurity,” said Tom Gabriel, CEO of United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “United Ways and the 211 network have convened local agencies, food banks and grocery partners to identify available food for people who can’t travel and arrange for deliveries by DoorDash ‘Dashers’. Solving problems sustainably takes partnership, and by working together we can make sure every person gets the support they need in this difficult time.”
United Way of Westchester and Putnam partners with Feeding Westchester, the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon, the Elmsford School District, and the Ossining School District to provide the Westchester Backpack Program, which delivers supplemental fresh produce and packaged food to hundreds of low-income families of school-aged children weekly that live within a 10-mile delivery radius of Alexander Hamilton High School in Elmsford or the Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon, or are signed up directly through the Ossining School District.
“United Way has been a great partner to work with on addressing hunger,” Feeding Westchester Programs Services Associate Chris McGregor said. “Together, we’ve provided a wide variety of fresh produce and packaged food to more than 500 households in Westchester regularly. We’re looking forward to continuing the program and seeing how it can grow.”
United Way delivers parcels from its food pantry partners, such as the Interfaith Emergency Food Pantry of Pleasantville in Thornwood and the YWCA in Yonkers. We also delivered holiday meals donated by the Falafel Taco in Pleasantville to clients of Open Door Medical Center.
In Mahopac, United Way also has teams up with the Mahopac School District to deliver its meals from the school lunch program to the students who are learning remotely. The program has grown from 80 meals a day to 180 meals a day since the delivery option began.
In addition to food, United Way used its Ride United program to deliver toys from Toys for Tots to hundreds of children in Putnam County as well as Peekskill and Ossining.
For those agencies interested in partnering with United Way’s Ride United Program, visit uwwp.org/doordash. For those interested in participating in the Westchester Backpack Food Program visit uwwp.org/food. Those who need help finding available local resources, including food, can call 211 for more information.