The meal delivery program took shape in D.C. when Creative Minds International Public Charter School approached Genuine Foods about a food distribution partnership. Via

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Via and Genuine Foods launched a partnership to support on-demand emergency meal kit delivery for charter school students in Washington, D.C, starting with Creative Minds International Public Charter School.

With schools closed across the D.C. metro area due to COVID-19, many children face food insecurity. Genuine Foods is focused on ensuring this vulnerable population receives healthy and nutritious meals at home and has partnered with Via to introduce a technology-driven solution to support rapidly increasing demand, and to address driver supply shortages for emergency home delivery services.

The meal delivery program took shape in D.C. when Creative Minds International Public Charter School approached Genuine Foods about a food distribution partnership. Since switching to remote learning in March, Creative Minds had been looking to provide its students — and any other children in their households — with free meals on both weekdays and weekends, in a way that didn’t require families to leave their homes.

The service launched on April 15, with Via drivers delivering 170 meal kits to more than 70 Creative Minds families in just one day. Deliveries increased the second week of operation, and Via and Genuine Foods plan to scale the program to serve additional schools and children in the coming weeks. Creative Minds will continue to support its community with the free meal delivery program, the first-of-its kind in Washington, D.C., as long as the public health emergency is in effect.

Via’s technology, originally developed to provide on-demand public transit solutions, is now being deployed to efficiently plan and route pickup and delivery of the weekly meal kits, including fresh produce prepared by Genuine Foods, and to facilitate driver support. Via runs an on-demand shared ride service in D.C. and is using its capabilities to serve the community in a time of need, and to provide new earning opportunities to its local driver base while many transit services are reduced. In addition, Via’s driver community can fill the gaps in supply needed to properly support the high demand for at-home meal delivery. Drivers helping with Genuine Foods delivery will simply log into the Via app and follow delivery instructions, with access to live Via support.

Via is partnering with dozens of municipalities, public transit agencies, healthcare organizations, and nonprofits around the world, to support essential healthcare workers, to help utilize existing transit infrastructure during this time of emergency. In the D.C. area, Via is additionally partnering with the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles to provide on-demand transportation for healthcare workers. Via’s emergency services include consulting to help quickly optimize transit networks to address immediate needs, and technology and operational expertise to help get essential workers where they need to go and to bring goods, pharmaceuticals, and services to people — where they are.

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