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By Mike Hazlip–
The City of Citrus Heights announced Monday that the city will participate in a plan to deliver up to three free meals a day from local restaurants to qualifying seniors during shelter-at-home orders. The new program is part of California’s Great Plates Delivered meal initiative and will be locally administered.
“Our City staff remain committed to the health and safety of our residents, especially our at-risk population,” City Manager Chris Boyd said in Monday’s announcement. The city hopes to serve 500 seniors up to three meals a day, utilizing nearly $1 million in federal assistance over the next 30 days.
“We are infusing $1 million a month into our local economy,” Meghan Huber, the city’s economic development manager, told Auburn Boulevard business owners during a meeting this week where she announced the program.
According to a May 11 news release, the city said Citrus Heights residents age 65 and older with a yearly income less than $74,940, or just over $100,000 for two-person households, can apply for the program. Additionally, residents between ages 60 and 64 who have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19, and other adults considered high risk by the Centers for Disease Control, are eligible for the service.
The program is not available to those already on other state or federal nutrition programs, such as CalFresh or Meals on Wheels.
In addition to helping residents of Citrus Heights, the plan will provide struggling restaurants with a boost in orders. The city estimates restaurants can make up to $13,000 a week by enrolling in the program.
The city is looking to recruit 20 restaurants and caterers who can serve 50 seniors each day. As of Tuesday, city spokeswoman Nichole Baxter told the Sentinel 47 seniors and six restaurants had already enrolled while indicating more restaurants are being evaluated.
The Great Plates Delivered initiative allows for up to $66 to be spent for three daily meals, including delivery.
Afrequently asked questions page on thecity’s website says dietary needs will be considered when preparing meals. The Governor’s guidelines for the programspecify that mealsprovidedwill be low in sodium with a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable on each dish. Sugary drinks are not allowed in the plan.
A program summary provided by the State of California says reimbursement to cities participating in the “Great Plates” program will come from FEMA, and the State of California. The local cost share will be 6.25 percent according to the summary.
The city is asking residents and restaurants to register online atCitrusHeights.net/GreatPlates. The program is scheduled to run through June 10, but could be extended.
Gov. Newsom first announced the Great Plates program last month, calling the program the first in the nation. Other cities throughout the state are participating, including Sacramento.
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