Thanksgiving is a time to sit around a table full of food with your family, stuffing yourself with so much stuffing that you might need bigger pants — but it’s also about giving back and helping out those who may not be as fortunate.
This year, rideshare services are getting in on the generosity, giving discounts that will help customers to do good deeds themselves and also stay safe for the holidays.
Boston-based company Fasten is encouraging residents to help out the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is aiming this holiday season to provide 12 million healthy meals to families who struggle to put food on their tables.
That’s a lofty goal — more than they were able to provide last year, GBFB President and CEO Catherine D’Amato said — and so they need the public’s help to make it happen.
Though there’s a need for donations and awareness on food scarcity all year around, D’Amato said, the holiday season always creates a bit more attention for the issue. There actually is a bit of an increased need, as well; some pantries see more visitors because of the changes in weather, which can cause higher utility bills, or personal needs that arise this time of year.
“It’s a bit of a conundrum, because we have a robust economy, a record stock market and the lowest unemployment for a considerable number of years, but there is still this under-employed factor that is very true in the Greater Boston area,” D’Amato said.
“One in 10 people don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” she continued, “and the cold weather and increased heating costs really do cause people to stop, reflect and think about how to help feed families.”
Fasten is helping this fight against hunger by offering round-trip rides, free up to $20 each way, to the food bank for anyone volunteering, dropping off food from a corporate drive or making their own donation.
Twenty dollars is also what it takes for the food bank to feed a family of five.
“What they’re doing is basically saying, ‘We’ll cover you, we’ll support you by giving you a ride,’ and then we’ll feed a family. It’s remarkable,” D’Amato said. “It’s a win-win for the individuals that we serve...140,000 people each and every month eat something from the Greater Boston Food Bank.”
This is the first time GBFB has done a promotion like this, D’Amato said. It was actually Fasten’s idea, and the food bank is excited about the extra incentive this may give people to help out.
"Thanksgiving is a time when helping the hungry is top of mind for many of us in Boston, including the team here at Fasten. That's why we reached out to the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England, to see how our ride-hailing services could help make an impact,” said Kirill Evdakov, Fasten co-founder and CEO. “We hope that lots of people will donate their food or time to those in need next week.”
Fasten is offering the free rides from Monday, Nov. 20 through Wednesday, Nov. 22. Enter 70 South Bay Avenue, Boston, as the destination or pickup address in the app, and the discount will automatically be applied.
Donate, Then Drink (Responsibly)
And after you give back, you can treat yourself to a brew and reap the benefits of Lyft’s “Thankful for Designated Drivers” program.
“The night before Thanksgiving is historically one of the most popular nights of the year to go out with friends and family,” said Katie Stinchon, executive director of the Mass Brewers Guild.
“The Brewers Guild and Lyft are thrilled to provide reliable modes of transportation for Mass. residents looking to responsibly enjoy the night.”
The guild and Lyft recently partnered, which helped bring about this deal and means that favorites like Harpoon, Sam Adams, Jack's Abby, Lord Hobo and more are involved.
To reward responsible drivers, Lyft worked with local breweries to provide $10 off rides between 8 p.m. Nov. 22 through 3 a.m. Nov. 23 with the code MBGTHANKFUL.