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JATA helps Jackson residents combat food deserts with free transportation
May 8, 2023

Shop & Ride Program Aims to Bridge the Gap for Jackson Residents

Polly’s Country Market on Spring Arbor Rd.

Access to fresh, healthy food is essential for maintaining a balanced diet and promoting overall well-being. However, many individuals in Jackson face a significant challenge known as food deserts. Food deserts refer to areas where residents lack access to affordable, nutritious food options within a reasonable distance from their homes.

Food deserts are typically found in low-income neighborhoods where residents have limited access to grocery stores, supermarkets, or farmers’ markets. These areas are often characterized by the absence of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food options, making it difficult for individuals to maintain a healthy diet.

Many residents in food deserts do not have access to private transportation, such as cars, which restricts their ability to travel long distances to reach grocery stores or supermarkets located outside their communities.

JATA’s Shop & Ride program aims to bridge the gap between grocery stores and the Jackson residents living in food deserts. In partnership with Polly’s Country Markets & Kroger, the Shop & Ride program provides free bus tickets to and from the grocery store. Individuals spending $20 or more at Polly’s or Kroger are eligible for two free bus tickets from the store’s Service Center.

“We understand the obstacles many of our riders face on a daily basis, including transportation and food insecurity. At JATA, our mission is to lower those obstacles by providing safe, affordable, flexible, and dependable transportation,” said Jackson Area Transportation Executive Director Michael Brown. “Our Shop & Ride program is the perfect example of how collaboration between the private and public sectors can benefit our community. We commend Polly’s and Kroger for their commitment to serving the residents of Jackson.”

Patrick O’Dowd, Government & Community Relations Manager