Launched in 2018, Ride United leverages the strengths of United Ways, the 211 network and partners to address unmet transportation needs for individuals and families across the U.S. In 2020, United Way expanded Ride United to connect clients with food and household good deliveries, in addition to providing essential transportation.
211, the vital service that connects people to resources and assistance in the U.S. and Canada, receives more than 250,000 requests for transportation assistance each year. Due to a lack of public transportation, the high cost of car ownership, and other barriers, 211 navigators are often unable to meet transportation needs for callers. Through Ride United, United Ways and 211s are partnering with communities to close transportation gaps.
Bringing the food bank to clients with DoorDash
When calls for food assistance quadrupled in Akron, OH, the United Way of Summit County worked quickly to convene partners and respond. In partnership with Akron Canton Regional Foodbank, Salvation Army of Summit County, Open M, and the Stark County Hunger Task Force, United Way of Summit County’s 211 team has coordinated deliveries of more than 12 tons of food so far to clients in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Supporting immune-compromised individuals with safe transportation
A 72-year old client in Cleveland contacted 211 seeking assistance getting to and from a critical doctor’s appointment during the COVID-19 outbreak. As someone with a medical condition that heightens her risk of infection, she could not rely on Paratransit or other services with multiple passengers to get to her immunologist appointment. Thanks to Ride United, she was able to take a clean, safe Lyft ride to and from the doctor.
Supporting families in New York City
As public schools and businesses remain closed in New York City, thousands of families are struggling with food insecurity. In support of families that attend public schools in the Bronx and participate in the ReadNYC program, United Way of Greater New York City partnered with Driscoll Foods and community agencies to deliver more than 28,000 pounds of food to 340 food insecure households in April 2020.
Overcoming unemployment and homelessness
When Veronica called 211 in Tallahassee, FL, she was living at a local homeless shelter and working hard to find stable employment. She’d gotten an interview for a full-time job, but did not have a car nor access to public transportation to get to it. Through Ride United, 211 provided a free Lyft ride to and from her interview. Veronica was offered the position, now works full time, and has moved into a permanent residence.
Help us get people where they need to go by supporting Ride United. Your generous contribution will provide someone with a free ride to a job interview or chemotherapy appointment, or help deliver groceries from a food bank to someone in need.
If you need support from the Ride United program, dial 211 or visit 211.org. Free transportation and food deliveries are not available in every community, but 211 specialists will connect you with the best available services to meet your needs.
Connect with your local United Way to see what activities are happening in your community and get involved. Find your local United Way here.
If you are interested in supporting Ride United as a partner or funder please contact Hilary Palotay.