Lyft this week introduced a pilot program that allows government agencies, local non-profits, businesses, and healthcare organizations to request on-demand delivery of meals, groceries, medical supplies, hygiene products, and home necessities.
Acting as a sort of extension of the LyftUp Driver Community Task Force introduced in March, Essential Deliveries kills two birds with one stone: it helps partners meet demand while generating work for drivers. Initial partners include Dole Packaged Foods (transporting goods from their warehouses to senior facilities) and charity Army of Angels (distributing school lunches to low-income families).
“With Lyft’s help, we’re now able to help meet the critical needs of vulnerable populations … faster and more efficiently than we could on our own,” Dave Spare, president of marketing at Dole Packaged Foods, said in a statement. Army of Angels advisor Greg Valla echoed that sentiment, adding that “We’re fortunate that Lyft stepped in to deliver food to students and their families who otherwise would simply not be able to eat during this time.”
Essential Deliveries is initially available in 11 US cities: Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, and Seattle. As Lyft develops more partnerships and enlists more drivers, the program will continue to expand across the country.
“As communities shelter in place, the need for items to be delivered to the doorstep is at an all-time high,” according to Lisa Boyd, director of social impact at Lyft. “Whether it’s meals for high-risk seniors or medical supplies for individuals with a medical condition, Lyft’s community of drivers is ready to help meet the needs of our communities while earning additional income.”
Rival Uber, meanwhile, launched a pilot program in February allowing folks in Arizona to book trips by calling a 1-800 number rather than relying on a mobile app. It has now expanded that phone service to facilitate Uber Eats deliveries.