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EMBARK adjusts grocery shuttle service in northeast Oklahoma City
EMBARK and other partners are adjusting the free grocery shuttle service in northeast Oklahoma City as part of ongoing efforts to meet needs in the short- and long-term fight against the food desert crisis.
The shuttle service is part of efforts by the OKC Health Task Force to provide options for healthy food in northeast OKC after the recent closure of one of the area’s only grocery stores.
The most significant change is that the shuttle hours and days are changing. The shuttle operates four days a week and brings residents from the northeast side to the closest full-service grocery store.
The new shuttle service schedule begins Wednesday, Sept. 4. Here are details on the new grocery service offered by EMBARK and partners:
- Times: Pickups at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon
- Days: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (ADA service only on Saturdays)
- Pickup location: East end of the Ralph Ellison Library parking lot, 2000 NE 23rd Street (southeast corner of NE 23rd Street and Martin Luther King Avenue)
- Destination: Walmart Neighborhood Market, 2217 NW 23rd Street, all four days. Cash Saver (formerly Otwell’s), 1149 N Martin Luther King Ave., on Thursdays only.
- Drop-off zone: Shoppers can be dropped off at their residence if they live between N Lottie Avenue and Interstate 35, from NE 8th Street to NE 30th Street. Some exceptions may be allowed for drop-offs outside the zone. Everyone else will be returned to the pickup point at the library.
More about the OKC Health Task Force
A food desert, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is an area with disproportionately low income and limited access to a large grocery store. Studies in 2016 by the Lynn Institute and in 2017 by the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma found food deserts in the Oklahoma City area, including a vast swath of the northeast side.
The OKC Health Task Force is working on the two major problems preventing those residents from access to affordable, healthy groceries: transportation and food availability.
The task force website at neokcfood.com features updated opportunities for food distribution and transportation services.
The task force is increasing capacity at existing food distribution centers and organizing pop-up food distribution centers. The pop-ups will be at places where the community already gathers like school and church events, nonprofits and other service partners, and more.
The task force monitors and expands capacity at food distribution sites as needed.
New food distribution efforts prioritize reaching residents in the 73111, 73117 and 73105 zip codes. In the event demand exceeds supply in some cases, priority will be based on need, with an emphasis on people age 60+ and families with children.
Task force partners
The OKC Health Task Force benefits from the support of a broad array of community partners:
- City of Oklahoma City
- Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma City-County Health Department
- Lynn Institute
- OU Medicine
- YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City
- Metropolitan Library System – Ralph Ellison Library
- American Heart Association
- Filling Tummies
- Restore OKC
- Oklahoma City Housing Authority
- OKC Black Eats
- Community Health Centers of Oklahoma
- The Salvation Army of Central Oklahoma
- Health Strategist
- Skyline Urban Ministry
- Vinyard Fruit and Vegetable Co.
- Metro Technology Centers Springlake campus
- Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma County Cooperative Extension Service
- Numerous other local organizations, nonprofit groups, churches and residents.
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