WSCAH serves over 77,000 customers a year who come to 86th street and to our dozens of community-based partners all over the city. Some of them spend hours of their days commuting to 86th Street just to get a choice of healthy food. We’ve long hoped the day would come when instead of making our 86th Street customers come to us, we could go to them. Thanks to our amazing community of supporters that day is finally here!
The idea is this: customers will use a texting platform to choose from a type of food box (e.g. vegetarian) and then get that box of healthy food delivered to their neighborhood. It’s a simple concept that stands to revolutionize how we think about emergency food distribution and what’s possible in the fight against food insecurity.
We’re calling it our Digital Choice Project. Why shouldn’t the same technology that allows for restaurant delivery and socializing be used to help people in need get the food they want in a place they want to get it?
This is an innovative program promoting structural and systematic changes to a stale system, expanding WSCAH’s values of community, dignity, and choice further while promoting more equity in basic access to healthy food. The new food distribution program pilot includes:
- A choice of different kinds of boxes including options for vegetarians & vegans and an all-fresh produce box.
- Dedicated customer support.
- Ordering and communication technology.
- End-to-end food assembly from sourcing food to building the food boxes
- Coordination of the final mile with our community-based distribution partners.
CUNY’s Urban Food Policy Center is evaluating The Digital Choice Pilot, surveying and collecting customer feedback. WSCAH will use this evaluation to guide the growth of the program and study the effectiveness of our solutions for our community.
Past and present Digital Choice Pilot participants:
- Taft Early Childhood Center with Children’s Aid
- Home delivery for Seniors and other vulnerable populations across New York City
- Phipps Neighborhoods Crotona Park West in The Bronx
- Grace and Peace Church, in Soundview, The Bronx