The Jacksonville Transportation Authority will launch a free service on the Northside later this week to take people from their door to one of seven grocery stores in the area and then back home again.
JTA spokesman David Cawton says it’s called the Door-to-Store service.
“In the Northside neighborhood, we’ve noticed over the past year the closure of grocery stores and some of our customers having a difficult time getting to other grocery stores that may be nearby,” Cawton said.
The new program is part of JTA’s ReadiRide service that’s already available in 11 Jacksonville neighborhoods.
“ReadiRide is an on-demand service. You call a dedicated number and, for the Door-to-Store program you will need to actually reserve your pick-up and drop-off at the same time,” Cawton explained.
Cawton said Door-to-Store on the Northside will be a year-long pilot program that’s funded by a city grant.
The free service launches Saturday, February 1.
The new program was announced in front of the future Winn-Dixie store at the Gateway Town Center, which is scheduled to open Wednesday, February 12.
Winn-Dixie and the Winn-Dixie Gives Foundation have been hosting mobile food pantry events while the new store is under construction.
The food donations are being distributed during the market-style pantry events to make sure fresh produce, shelf-stable food and everyday essentials remain available in the Brentwood area while the new store is under construction.
“The collaboration at work in this community is outstanding. When the previous tenant announced their departure last year, putting this historic community at risk of losing vital access to fresh produce and nutrition, Councilman [Reggie] Gaffney and City Hall sprang into action to find a new partner that would avoid the creation of another food desert,” said Jacksonville Mayor Curry in a statement. Curry was on hand for Saturday’s ReadiRide announcement and food pantry.
Winn-Dixie, which is part of Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, is taking over the location with the help of $850,000 in city incentives to renovate the 28,120-square-foot store after Publix closed in December.
The final pantry event is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.