Starting Monday, April 26, EMBARK will expand its weekly grocery shopping shuttles to include stops at The Market at Eastpoint, which opened earlier this month. The shopping shuttle provides weekly, round-trip outings and is arranged at no cost to individuals who are at least 60 years old or have a disability.
Located on NE 23rd St., The Market at Eastpoint is a culmination of northeast OKC’s and Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice’s progress toward food access. The Market is a community-led grocery store with the goal of providing food security to residents.
“This new full-service grocery store begins to address long-time needs within the northeast Oklahoma City community,” said Nice. “This is a welcomed step forward to increase food access in this area. Transportation options that help residents travel to and from the store are crucial. This service and the route 002 bus stop in front of The Market at Eastpoint offer residents convenience and consistent access to every day, nutritious foods.”
For over 25 years, northeast OKC has been considered a food desert, meaning at least 33% of the population lives more than one mile from a large grocery store offering fresh and nutritious food. Advocates with RestoreOKC are the driving force behind the creation and construction of The Market at Eastpoint.
“Providing residents with a permanent solution to access fresh groceries for them and their families is just one goal of The Market at Eastpoint,” said Caylee Dodson, director of RestoreOKC. “With an additional full-service grocery store in the works in northeast OKC and public transportation routes planned for both, our customers can connect with their community through public transit, fresh foods, and a grocery store that meets their needs.”
A Homeland also will be opening at NE 36th St. and Lincoln later this year. EMBARK plans to service the Homeland via its fixed bus route 018 and a new grocery shopping shuttle services coordinated through its Mobility Management Division.
Customers interested in the no-cost grocery shopping shuttle services must be at least 60 years of age or have a disability and utilize the route closest to their residence. To sign up, customers can call 405-297-2583 to complete a short interview. The interview takes 10 minutes or less, and services can begin the next day their shopping route is available. Customers are picked up at their home, travel with EMBARK to the closest grocery store, shop for an hour, and are then returned home.
“We are the transportation resource for our community,” said Jason Ferbrache, EMBARK Administrator. “Access to nutritious, high-quality foods helps our community and customers thrive. EMBARK is here to provide transportation for those who may otherwise lose access to these necessities based on age and ability.”
Funding for weekly grocery shopping shuttle services is provided by Older Americans Act Grant through Areawide Aging Agency. EMBARK is partnering with the Community Action Agency of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma/Canadian Counties to offer these services.
A fixed-route bus stop along Route 002 is near The Market at Eastpoint for any Central Oklahoma residents to utilize. The Market at Eastpoint will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sundays.