MIAMI — Ford and it's philanthropic arm, Ford Fund, launched a meal delivery program in Miami, Florida with local nonprofits Health in the Hood and World Central Kitchen. The eight-week service will deliver 5,000 meals to families living in food deserts throughout Miami-Dade County. Ford Fund's $25,000 donation to Health in the Hood will help support the program including the pre-prepared fresh meals that will be delivered by a fleet of Transit Connect vans.
"Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in food insecurity in Miami due to job loss," said Asha Walker, founder and CEO, Health in the Hood. "By teaming up with corporate community partners like Ford, we are able to mobilize our food pantry and provide additional access to families who might have otherwise not have been able to receive."
To help kick off the program, local employees from Ford's Miami AV & Mobility business, including Ford's micromobility unit, Spin participated in a Ford Volunteer Corps project to help Health in the Hood plant and harvest vegetables at one of its nine urban gardens.
In addition, Ford's mobility team is also providing support via its Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) software platform to help manage the delivery vehicles and notify recipients when their food is on the way. Spin is operating a fleet of dockless scooters in the City of Miami and City of Coral Gables and Ford, in partnership with Argo AI, is currently building a self-drivingvehicle service in Miami-Dade for ride-hailing and goods delivery.
"Supporting the local community where we operate is important to our AV & Mobility team," said Alex Buznego, Miami AV Market Manager, Ford Motor Company. "Given the impact of the pandemic, we wanted to find a way to continue to help our fellow Miamians. As a result, we are able to provide additional access to food by expanding Health in the Hood's existing distribution program via a delivery service."
This is not the first time the Ford Fund and the Ford Miami team came together to support Miamians. Last fall, as COVID-19 continued to close schools and force distance learning, Ford Fund, Ford and Argo AI, teamed up with The Education Fund to deliver fresh produce and school supplies to families across Miami-Dade County. The effort used Ford Fusion Hybrid self-driving test vehicles to make contactless deliveries, allowing The Education Fund to maintain its Food Forest program that grows food in school gardens for the children to take home. Ford offered to help make deliveries autonomously to students' homes through the pilot program.
"This program builds on Ford and Ford Fund's long-term commitment to the Miami community," said Joe Avila, manager, U.S. & Latin America, Ford Motor Company Fund. "Using our collective resources and expertise, we are able to provide a much-needed service for local families, who now have access to quality meals."
Ford Fund and local Ford dealers have invested more than $8 million in Miami-Dade County and the Miami area to boost education, provide disaster relief and advance social entrepreneurship. More recently, 1 million masks were donated to local nonprofits, first responders and the public as part of Ford and Ford Fund's effort to donate 120 million masks to communities across the U.S.
To learn more about Ford Fund's global efforts to build stronger communities, please visit fordfund.org.