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Waymo partners with Arizona food bank to transport bread

Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 13, 2022

One in nine Arizonans face food insecurity, with one-third of those being children, according to Feeding America’s latest Map the Meal Gap report.

Despite being the third-largest producer of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, hundreds of thousands of Arizonans struggle to access healthy meals.

“Many in Arizona are just one job loss or medical crisis away from food insecurity,” explains Angie Rodgers, president and CEO of the Arizona Food Bank Network. “But some among us -- especially children, seniors, and rural Arizonans -- are at greater risk.”

Too many Arizonans struggle to get a consistent and proper amount of nutrition each day. The Arizona Food Bank Network, a coalition of five regional food banks and almost 1,000 food pantries and agencies, works with elected officials, school districts, and many community organizations to build awareness and work toward ending hunger in the state.

“Together, our network feeds almost 1,000,000 people each year in all 15 counties in Arizona,” Rodgers says. “We amplify the good work of these food banks by raising awareness about hunger, coordinating large food donations between food banks, and providing resources and education.”

However, with new challenges, such as driver shortages and inflated gas and food prices, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distribute food to the food banks and families who need it most.

Starting in June, the Arizona Food Bank Network partnered with Waymo to help move food across two regions in Arizona.

Once a month, Waymo, through its delivery business unit, Waymo Via, will donate its delivery capabilities to bring thousands of pounds of bread from St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix to Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona in Tucson. In the first four months of this partnership, Waymo Via transported 22,800 pounds of bread, a pantry staple for many families.

Waymo’s fully autonomous driving technology, with advanced planning and safety at the forefront, provides a trustworthy trucking solution to support the food banks and partner agencies in southern Arizona.

Waymo’s semi-trucks are operated by The World’s Most Experienced Driver™, a powerful AI that has driven more than 20 million miles on public roads and more than 20 billion miles in simulation over the last decade. Waymo Via has the potential to provide greater efficiency to freight movement and safety to roadways. However, when it comes to Arizona's food banks, they are in need of more than transportation help.

“Food banks are always in need of food donations, monetary donations, and volunteers,” Rodgers says. “Summers are always tough because demand tends to go up with kids being out of school and volunteering sign-ups going down. So volunteering is something we always encourage but especially during the summer months, particularly this year.”

Waymo will be matching all donations to AzFBN dollar for dollar, starting on August 12, up to $10,000.