During the pandemic, nonprofits across the country experienced an increased demand for services and assistance. At the same time, they also had to transform the way they served their communities to accommodate social distancing and other safety precautions.
AZCEND, a Chandler, Arizona-based, nonprofit that has served thousands of individuals and households in the East Valley for more than 55 years, also had to rethink how it accomplished its mission.
AZCEND strengthens individuals, families and communities through food boxes; homeless services; rent and utility assistance; senior nutrition; meals on wheels; parenting, health and literacy classes; and other comprehensive programs and resources.
The nonprofit quickly adapted. Embracing virtual programming, AZCEND created a Facebook page to keep seniors connected through online classes, education classes for parents and children via Zoom, and secured tablets to keep children engaged in AZCEND’s virtual early literacy program. AZCEND adapted with curbside delivery of diapers for families. Every program within AZCEND adapted to remain serving people in the community.
AZCEND saw demand for home delivered meals for homebound seniors increase by 110% during the pandemic.
That’s where Waymo stepped in to offer its fully autonomous driving technology to help. For nearly a year, Waymo has donated its delivery services to transport more than 2,000 meals from AZCEND’s Chandler food bank to the Gilbert Senior Center.
“The partnership with Waymo has given us strength during the COVID-19 pandemic to help deliver food boxes to seniors in need,” said Trinity Donovan, CEO of AZCEND.
On a weekly basis, a blue delivery van operated by Waymo’s fully autonomous driving technology arrives at AZCEND’s Chandler facility ready for staff to load up, allowing them to focus more time on programming and services.
The AZCEND-Waymo collaboration shows how fully autonomous driving technology like Waymo’s can be used to safely and efficiently deliver people and goods where they need to go, connecting communities like Chandler and Gilbert, Arizona.