In an effort to provide meals to those who need them, Los Angeles County recently announced its participation in California’s “Great Plates Delivered” initiative, a meal-delivery service for older adults.
“There are over 5.7 million older Californians, but 1.2 million live alone, socially isolated, unable, in many respects, to cook their own meals, unable to be provided the kind of nutrition and support that they deserve,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a daily coronavirus briefing.
That being said, not only is this program set to help seniors at high risk of contracting coronavirus both stay at home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day, seven days a week, but it is also expected to support local workers and stimulate the local economy by purchasing these meals from local businesses.
“Now we have the ability to have locally driven decision making to start employing workers and get these restaurants reopened and provide hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of prepared meals every day,” Newsom added. “We will provide an unlimited number of meals, no cap in terms of that support.”
In partnership with the county’s Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, or WDACS, and the Office of Emergency Management, the program is set to home deliver three meals per day to qualifying older adults and adults over 60 years old who are high risk as determined by the Centers for Disease Control countywide.
In the first phase of the initiative, which is set to provide meals countywide to 1,500 individuals, the county is expected to partner with UNITE HERE Local 11’s Hospitality Training Academy, a hospitality and food service training program.
Once WDACS works to expand the program with partnerships with local restaurants and food service providers, the county is set to partner with these businesses to provide meals, assigning participants to restaurants located in the same city or neighborhood to the extent possible.
“L.A. County is proud to partner with hospitality workers, restaurants and cities to implement this innovative program to provide meals for seniors who are most in need,” county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said in a prepared statement. “This collaborative effort bolsters local business, supports the regional economy and ensures the well-being and care of at-risk seniors. This act of unity and creativity, which benefits so many in our community, is a win-win.”
While cities have the option of implementing their own “Great Plates Delivered” programs, which no areas in the Santa Clarita Valley have yet done, the county is expected to provide access to the program in all cities and unincorporated areas that do not have their own locally operated programs.
The county is finalizing criteria for participation, and some eligibility requirements for individuals include age, inability to prepare or obtain meals and that they are not currently receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs.
Food providers are expected to be selected based on factors that include their ability to meet volume and nutritional standards, as well as prioritization of local jobs, worker retention, worker health and safety, as well as standards of equity and fairness in employment practices.
The program, funded jointly by FEMA, California and local jurisdictions, is scheduled to run until June 10, though it is anticipated that the state will seek additional extensions that, if approved, would extend it to as late as August 10.
For more information about the “Great Plates Delivered” initiative, visit bit.ly/GreatPlatesLA or call 2-1-1.