Charitable food is a crucial tool to help fight food insecurity, but access is challenging for many people: families with unreliable access to transportation, people with disabilities, or seniors for whom spending hours in line poses serious health risks. In 2018, DoorDash launched Project DASH to help break down barriers to access, empowering food banks, food pantries, and other social impact organizations to use DoorDash logistics to power the delivery of charitable food and other essential items. Since its launch, Project DASH has powered over 5 million deliveries of more than an estimated 80 million meals across the U.S. and Canada.
Today, the Urban Institute released its report, Connecting People with Charitable Food through New Home Delivery Partnerships, which studies the effectiveness of Project DASH home delivery partnerships. The report, supported by DoorDash, analyzed data from Project DASH partners and clients that receive home delivery, and found that home delivery has helped alleviate organizational capacity challenges in implementing home delivery, reduced stigma and enhanced convenience for clients by connecting hard-to-reach populations with charitable food, and expanded the communities anti-hunger organizations served. Importantly, the report finds that home delivery of charitable food, which expanded over the course of the pandemic, is a permanent part of the food access ecosystem and one which needs sustainable funding solutions. This report comes as the country recognizes Hunger Action Month, which provides an opportunity to collaborate on new ways to combat food insecurity.
Some of the report’s key findings include:
80 percent of surveyed anti-hunger organizations stated that a motivating factor in seeking a DoorDash partnership was the ability to reach new people in need.
More than 90 percent of surveyed anti-hunger organizations reported that partnering with DoorDash allowed them to build capacity for services they otherwise would not be able to offer.
About three-quarters of surveyed anti-hunger organizations reported that they could reach new populations and over half named reduced staff time and reduced transportation costs as key capacity-expanding benefits of the Project DASH partnership.
Home delivery removed food access barriers by helping the majority (97.8 percent) of surveyed clients save money and by providing charitable food to over three-quarters of clients who faced chronic health conditions and mobility challenges and filled food access gaps, with less than half of surveyed clients receiving charitable food before Project DASH.
Surveyed clients identified multiple ways that home delivery had supported them in taking care of themselves or their families.
The vast majority of surveyed clients cited home delivery’s value in taking care of their own health (88.8 percent), while 28 percent said it helped them as they were caring for someone else who was sick.
More than three in four surveyed clients cited trouble traveling to food bank sites because of chronic health conditions or mobility limitations.
More than two-thirds of surveyed clients cited a lack of adequate transportation and lack of accessibility of the food site.
More than half of surveyed clients cited a lack of available support from family and friends to get to a food site.
82 percent of anti-hunger organizations reported that they plan to continue offering home delivery to clients in the future, although funding is crucial to ensuring the sustainability of home delivery (96.6 percent).
“Without DoorDash’s involvement [our partner agencies] were able to handle maybe 10 clients [for home delivery], and now all four of those agencies have said that they’re feeling really good with serving 40 clients that they each have.”
– Project DASH partner interviewee
“I can’t drive anymore because of my disability, so the fact that I found out that I did not have to ask someone to go to the food bank, that I could have it delivered, that was, like, very good news for me.”
– A surveyed client who receives home delivery
Project DASH’s impact on broadening food access is powered by the work of our partners in their communities. We’re proud that Project DASH has enabled our food bank partners to reach more people experiencing hunger in a way that emphasizes client dignity and convenience. For organizations that want to expand access via home delivery through Project DASH, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. As part of our mission to empower local economies, DoorDash will continue to help broaden food access via home delivery and we’re grateful for the work of our partners who are leading the fight to end food insecurity in their communities.