Over the past few months, a path to a new normal has emerged. Vaccination rates are increasing, restaurants are opening back up and seating more customers, and more people are looking forward to a return to a life of hugging their friends and family as they sit down to eat at their favorite local restaurant. Throughout the pandemic and as we continue to recover, DoorDash has provided resources and support to lift up our entire community through our Main Street Strong Pledge, enabling merchants to thrive and grow their business and Dashers to achieve greater financial empowerment.
As our nation emerges from the health and economic crises that have impacted millions of people, we wanted to provide an update on the programs and initiatives we introduced six months ago with our five-year, $200 million Main Street Strong Pledge. We recognize that much remains to be done as we continue our work to support merchants, Dashers, and local communities, and look forward to expanding these programs over the coming years.
Since announcing our pledge in November, we’ve distributed $10 million in winter grants to help more than 2,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada recover and launched the Main Street Strong Accelerator program that provides a $20,000 grant and eight-week training course to 100 restaurants across the country, including businesses owned by women, immigrants, and people of color. During Women’s History Month, we launched Made By Women, which highlights women-owned businesses in-app and provides access to loans and legal, marketing, and financial support. We’ve also continued to grow our Black-owned and immigrant-owned businesses initiatives which include thousands of locations today.
We continued our work to support our communities by combating food insecurity through Project DASH. Since launching in 2018, Project DASH has powered more than 700,000 deliveries of meals, groceries, household goods, and school supplies. With the help of Dashers, this has resulted in millions of meals connected to people facing food insecurity in more than 800 cities across the U.S. and Canada.
DoorDash also worked to broaden vaccine access for underserved communities. We donated $1 million through our Community Credits program to local community-based organizations serving as mobile vaccine sites through the California Office of Emergency Services. We also sent Dashers up-to-date information on a weekly basis regarding their eligibility and local vaccine resources, in addition to answering their vaccine-related questions in a webinar we hosted with Doctor on Demand.
As our country began to turn the page on the pandemic, DoorDash evolved how we support restaurants to provide more choice, flexibility, and transparency for local merchants. In April, we introduced a new merchant pricing model providing more flexibility for local merchants to choose the level of service and price point that best addresses the needs of their business, including the option to access delivery at a 15% commission. Another priority was to connect local businesses to financial relief. We continued our partnership with BlueVine so merchants could quickly access First and Second Draw Paycheck Protection Program loans that kept many of them afloat during uncertain times, helping more than 500 merchants access over $17 million in PPP loans in total. We also hosted a webinar with the National Restaurant Association so merchants could access the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
When unemployment skyrocketed and individuals needed a way to earn money at the touch of a button, nearly 2 million Dashers joined our platform from mid-March through September of 2020. From January through March of 2021, Dashers have been able to access earning opportunities to support themselves and their families, with Dashers making over $25 an hour while they’re on a delivery and working, on average, less than four hours a week. This flexible work is a source of help for many families and, as we emerge from the pandemic, preserving these earnings opportunities is key to shaping a modern economy that works for us all. We also created a program to show our appreciation and reward Dashers for the incredible work they already do.
Although much has changed in our journey toward a new normal, our commitment to empowering local economies remains the same. DoorDash is proud to support merchants and Dashers as we all navigate a post-pandemic world, and we are grateful to partner with organizations that strengthen our communities. We’re excited to keep taking steps so we can grow together.