Baltimore Rideshare is an innovative partnership between government agencies, private organizations, and a national rideshare company that offers discounted rides to grocery stores located within specific Baltimore City neighborhoods designated as “Healthy Food Priority Areas,” which are sometimes called “food deserts.” Residents can either call or use a smartphone app to schedule their ride, which can be either round-trip or one-way to or from the store. This work enhances Baltimore’s nationally recognized Virtual Supermarket program, which was the first in the country to accept food stamps for online grocery shopping and delivery.
This work can be replicated by others through initial community vetting. It is imperative to find out exactly what the residents want. Community gate-keepers must be identified and queried. Once the community has been vetted, a local rideshare company should be identified and contacted. Simultaneously, other community partners should be identified. These partners can be government agencies, private corporations, faith-based organizations, or nonprofits, among others. The work should be based on a recent community needs assessment which will also identify community resources.