Ottawa Community Housing Foundation partners with Lyft to help families access local grocery stores 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 — OTTAWA – On October 1, 2019 Lyft and ​Ottawa Community Housing Foundation​ celebrated the launch of Lyft’s Grocery Access Program in Ottawa with a commemorative event at Pinecrest Terrace Community  House.The program provides flat $2.50 shared rides to and from 17 grocery stores across the city to 25  households, and is expanding to 15 more eligible families in the coming weeks. Helping to launch the initiative, along with ​Mayor Jim Watson​ and ​Mathieu​ Fleury, Councillor for Ward 12, Rideau-Vanier and Chair of Ottawa Community Housing Corporation, ​is Lyft’s ​General Manager for Ottawa,​ ​Rob Woodbridge​. “Lyft’s first permanent hub opening in Canada was here in Ottawa, so we’re thrilled that we can continue to  invest in our city with the launch of the Grocery Access Program,” said Woodbridge. “Travelling to and from the grocery store is something that should be an easy task, but can prove difficult for families without  access to a personal vehicle. We are proud to partner with Ottawa Community Housing Foundation to help make living in Ottawa better for low-income residents.”

“Our mission is to collaborate with like-minded organizations to enhance the quality of life and well-being of residents in our communities,” said Howard Whittaker, Executive Director of the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation. “We are really excited to partner with Lyft on this initiative to create more affordable options for accessing healthy food.”

Jennifer Shabaga and her family are among many Ottawans experiencing the benefits of the Grocery  Access Program: “I don’t drive, which means I would normally need to plan on taking multiple buses and plan my routes according to the day or weather,” said Shabaga. “The Grocery Access Program means ​I can get heavier items, like fresh juice as opposed to canned or big melons, without having to think about how I’m going to get them home. This means fresher and healthier foods and I can take better advantage of sales by purchasing more than one item”.

The Grocery Access Program is part of ​City Works​, a Lyft initiative in which the transportation network  partners with its community of drivers, riders, local activists and city leaders to achieve maximum positive impact in cities across North America. The Grocery Access program was piloted in Washington, D.C., and  Atlanta, where Lyft teamed up with grocery stores and nonprofit organizations to serve hundreds and  families and provide thousands of discounted rides.

As a result of the program’s success, the transportation network announced an expansion to Ottawa and 15 other major metropolitan areas in North  America. The Ottawa program is the second to launch in Canada, following Toronto where Lyft partnered with ​Black Creek Community Farm​ and ​Children’s Aid Society of Toronto​.

About OCH Foundation The OCH Foundation channels fundamental resources into its key focus areas: education, employment and community engagement in order to empower, inspire, and equip OCH tenants so they can build thriving communities for themselves, for their families, for their neighbours, and for their city.

About Lyft  Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best  transportation, and is available to 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada. Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities by offsetting carbon emissions from all  rides, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters,  and public transit partnerships.

Media Inquiries:

Caroline Kayll

Manager of Operations/Gestionnaire des opérations

OCH Foundation for Healthy Communities / Fondation LCO pour des communautés saines