Curbside Groceries was created based on what the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) has consistently heard from its clients: families want access to good, healthy food groceries close to where they live or work, but face transportation and affordability barriers. In 2018, CAFB conducted a survey of nearly 2,000 people it serves. 90% of respondents expressed interest in affordable options for groceries and cooking within walking distance of their home, work, or school. This survey helped to identify gaps that a mobile grocery retail model was uniquely positioned to fill, and Curbside Groceries – the Food Store that Comes to You – was formed.
In DC’s Ward 8, many of our neighbors face barriers to transportation and access to affordable, healthy food. We set out to find a solution – meeting with community partners, discussing options with local leaders, and brainstorming internally how to leverage our unique resources. Here, we determined, the addition of a mobile retail grocery option could help remove these transportation barriers, create access to healthy food, and enable healthier diets for all residents in the community.
We took a data-driven approach, using information about food insecurity and food access, as well as information about transportation and proximity to schools and apartment buildings, to identify the neighborhoods that would most benefit from Curbside Groceries. We also consulted with community and area partners who are currently active in the area, including Arcadia, which delivers produce in Ward 8, to ensure Curbside Groceries would meet people where they are and where they need it.
Curbside Groceries first launched in DC’s Ward 8 in January of 2020. Despite temporary service interruptions due to the pandemic, Curbside DC has served over 1,250 customers. After more than a year on the road, CAFB was able to incorporate learnings into its operations of a new Curbside Groceries in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Thank you to our partners! Curbside Groceries in DC’s Ward 8 is presented by a coalition of partners including the Capital Area Food Bank, Giant Food, J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, and the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. In Prince George’s County, Curbside Groceries is made possible through partnerships between the Capital Area Good Bank, Giant Food, UnitedHealthcare, and Washingtonian Magazine.