City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Delivery service to bring fresh produce and pantry staples to vulnerable community members' doorsteps so they can #StayAtHomeATX
Groups across Austin are pitching in to help make sure families in need continue to get access to groceries during the COVID-19 response.
COVID-19 has strained the network of organizations that provide food assistance, and many are short on supplies, volunteers, funds, and protective equipment. In response, the City of Austin set up a new community forum, dubbed the ATX Emergency Food Systems Exchange, to connect food assistance and volunteers with the people who need them.
One of the projects making use of the Exchange is Stay Home, Stay Healthy, a new grocery delivery program for elderly and immunocompromised residents. The initiative, a partnership between Austin Transportation’s Smart Mobility Office and food delivery service Good Apple, provides free, convenient access to healthy food for people at-risk throughout Travis County, with a focus on historically underserved communities in East Austin.
Good Apple, a service that delivers organic, locally grown produce to people’s doorsteps, was one of two winners of the 2019 Ford City:One Austin Challenge, the goal of which was to identify opportunities to increase access to healthy living. Good Apple’s winning proposal was to launch a pilot this summer to deliver a free bag or box of fresh produce and pantry staples to families facing food insecurity for every one box purchased by a Good Apple customer.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolved, Austin Transportation and Good Apple partnered to immediately address the need to assist food insecure community members. By jump starting their new Stay Home, Stay Healthy program now, low-income seniors, immunocompromised and other at-risk groups will receive needed support while promoting effective social distancing.
Austin Transportation funded Good Apple’s effort to scale its collection of produce and pantry staples from local farms and food pantries, as well as identify healthy volunteers to pack food relief boxes and deliver them directly to homes of individuals in need. Each relief delivery contains enough food to last one person for one week and replaces a trip to the grocery store. Good Apple estimates the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” program will provide approximately 62,400 pounds of fresh produce and pantry staples (via Johnson's Backyard Garden, Gundermann Acres, G&S Groves and Hope Food Pantry) to fill food relief packages to more than 2,000 clients in the coming weeks.
“We all need to do our part to look after community members who are most vulnerable during these uncertain times,” said Austin Transportation Director Robert Spillar. “Austin Transportation is working to provide mobility solutions during this crisis, but we’re also pursuing innovative ways to meet other urgent community needs such as food access.”
Austin and Travis County residents are encouraged to refer elderly and immunocompromised neighbors to the program, and may also sign up to volunteer at GoodAppleFoods.com. Anyone in need of food assistance can call 211 or visit Connect ATX.
Organizations providing emergency food assistance to people in need can get connected with volunteers and other resources using the ATX Emergency Food Systems Exchange. To learn more about community resources available to those impacted by COVID-19, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
ATX for ATX: The City of Austin is highlighting the community's efforts to unite, support, and keep one another safe during this difficult time. #ATXforATX