Giving Compass’ Take:
• An app called Tangelo now makes it easy to get fresh produce and fruit delivered to individuals, especially those who live in food deserts.
• How are food deserts impacting residents during the pandemic? How can more donors support organizations that are innovating food solutions for marginalized communities?
• Read more about addressing food insecurity brought on by COVID-19.
Many of the neighborhoods in Los Angeles that are being hardest hit by COVID-19 because of overall disparities in health are also food deserts, places where it’s impossible to buy fresh food. While access to groceries has been difficult for many people at points during the pandemic, the problem is especially acute in these deserts.
To help the people living there get access to food during the crisis, an app called Tangelo now makes it possible to place free orders of fruits and vegetables for home delivery. “When healthy food gets delivered to your door, the word ‘food desert’ becomes meaningless,” says Michel Nischan, founder of Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit that collaborated on the development of the app and launched the program in L.A.
Local organizations, including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, help identify the most vulnerable, low-income community members and then invite them to download the app, which gives them each $40 a month to spend on produce deliveries, for a total of six months. (Wholesome Wave is working to raise more funding to provide longer-term support and expand the number of people that can participate.)
The nonprofit had experimented with other new ways to increase access to fruit and vegetables in the past, including produce “prescriptions” that doctors handed out that were redeemable at local stores, and incentives that doubled the value of food stamps when used on fruit and vegetables. They started working with the Tangelo app—a platform that some other nonprofits are also beginning to use in other cities—to go further, recognizing the value of home delivery, especially in areas without as much access to healthy food. Corporate donors, such as Naked, foot the bill for the food; the nonprofit also hopes to have the platform approved for SNAP benefits.
Read the full article about getting fresh produce to food deserts by Adele Peters at Fast Company.
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