Grocery delivery service Instacart has launched a back-to-school shopper program that includes child care financial assistance and school supplies perk.
The program enables eligible shoppers to receive financial assistance from Instacart as they balance providing an important essential service for customers while also navigating the uncertainty of remote learning and child care. In addition, as the new school year begins, shoppers across the U.S. will be offered an exclusive back-to-school perk in partnership with Staples U.S. Retail.
Instacart said it remains committed to supporting the health and safety of its entire shopper community as the pandemic continues. While schools nationwide enact new policies, including remote and hybrid learning, parents have even more responsibilities — and expenses — to manage. In states heavily impacted by COVID-19, many working parents are being forced to hire sitters, pay for online classes, or increase spending on day care or other programs.
The Instacart child care financial assistance program is designed to help support shoppers in five pilot states that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 — California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas — by offering additional financial resources to better navigate the beginning of the school year.
To be eligible, shoppers must be active Instacart shoppers and be a parent or guardian who is the primary caregiver for a child whose school or daycare has transitioned to distance learning and will not be holding in-person learning sessions due to COVID-19. The program will run through September as an initial pilot and Instacart will continue to explore additional services and perks that support the shopper community.
“Instacart shoppers play an important role, helping provide an essential service for millions of people throughout North America. Half of Instacart shoppers are parents and caregivers for school-age children who are trying to navigate the new normal of distance learning and schooling in the age of COVID-19," said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of Instacart. "We know that now, more than ever, parents are facing additional complexities balancing work and child care responsibilities. For those of us who are parents, we understand just how challenging the return to school is this fall. By launching our back-to-school shopper program with child care financial assistance and offering a perk with Staples, we want to ensure Instacart shoppers and their families have additional support as they navigate the unique circumstances of the school year ahead.”
The news from Instacart comes other players in the larger food retail world also work to provide more help during the pandemic. For instance, on Tuesday, wine producer Kendall-Jackson said it is working with the United Way to provide emergency relief for frontline grocery store workers via the newly launched Grocery Worker's Relief Fund.
Additionally, as the new school year begins, Instacart has partnered with Staples to offer all U.S. shoppers an exclusive in-store discount of up to 40% on their back-to-school supplies.
"At Staples, we pride ourselves on being able to connect our communities to the resources they need, especially now as many families are preparing for a very different school year with children and parents learning and working from home together," said Mike Motz, Staples US Retail CEO. "We are thrilled to be able to give a little back to the network of Instacart shoppers who have played an important role in helping Staples' customers get the remote office essentials and back-to-school necessities they need."
Since the beginning of March, Instacart has introduced a number of health and safety features and enhancements to support its shopper community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the recent announcement of free access to COVID-19 screenings as part of a new partnership with Doctor On Demand. Instacart has also introduced new policies, guidelines, product features, resources, increased bonuses, and personal protective equipment to ensure the health and safety of shoppers during this critical time.