Local News

New home delivery program to bring foods to McHenry County kids in need

‘Everyone who needs food and essential items should be able to obtain them with as few barriers as possible’

A home delivery program from United Way of Greater McHenry County will be bring food and essential items to children in need – and eventually to seniors, people with health issues, people in food deserts and people affected economically by COVID-19.

The program is called Ride United: Last Mile Delivery and is operated through a partnership with DoorDash, which uses its couriers to deliver the supplies to those in need, according to a news release. The program also can help relieve stress and lines at food pantries

“Everyone who needs food and essential items should be able to obtain them with as few barriers as possible. Providing free deliveries to anyone in need has the potential to transform the way our neighbors get help,” United Way of Greater McHenry County CEO Jamie Maravich said in a news release.

United Way of Greater McHenry County also has the approval for 29,000 deliveries across McHenry County and up to 100,000 deliveries if more are needed, Maravich said.

The deliveries will be done wherever there is sufficient Dasher coverage and there is no specific starting point for the program, Maravich said. The program will cover most of McHenry County and specific towns, including McHenry, Johnsburg, Wonder Lake, Island Lake, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Woodstock, Huntley, Crystal Lake, Cary and Fox River Grove.

The areas that cannot be reached or this program are more remote and rural, such as Harvard, Marengo, Hebron and Ringwood, Maravich said.

United Way of Greater McHenry County is in the process of finding solutions to make sure that people in need from these areas are able receive food and essentials, Maravich said. One of the roadblocks is that recipients must be within 10 miles of the pickup zone as well as an adequate amount of dashers.

The main concern from Maravich would be to have someone expect food from the program in one these areas and then not have anyone available to deliver it.

“As we evolve, we’re going to be looking to see how we can expand it out that way, but right now, there’s no solution that jumps out at us,” Maravich said. “Right now, DoorDash doesn’t even do basic food deliveries out there.”

United Way of McHenry County is partnering with Kids in Need of McHenry County to help kick off the program, according to the release. Kids in Need of McHenry County will identify the children who will receive the items. That program is currently on its fourth week and has served 60 middle school families over the past four weeks according to Maravich.

“This collaborative partnership helps to ensure our students have food over the weekends as well as on breaks from school,” said KIN Executive Director Michelle Prickett in a news release. “The United Way is providing the home delivery of the bags of food utilizing their DoorDash grant which not only provides food stability for children in need, but a discrete way for the student to receive the food.”

The programs is part of Ride United, which expanded in 2020 from previously providing only transportation, according to a news release. Since April 2020, Last Mile Delivery has provided more than 691,000 free deliveries, including 8.8 million meals to over 37,000 households nationwide.