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Sentinel staff report–
The “Great Plates Delivered” program, which has been providing federal and state funds to local restaurants who deliver free meals to seniors and at-risk individuals, has now brought more than $1 million to the local economy.
City Manager Chris Boyd announced the news during Thursday night’s council meeting when he told council members the city-administered program has provided more than 3,700 meals a week, with a total of more than 52,000 meals delivered since launching in May.
“We’ve really been able to help a lot of seniors,” Boyd said. “We’ve invested to date a little over $1.1 million dollars into our local economy, directly to those restaurants feeding those seniors,” the city manager said.
When the program launched in May, the city’s economic development manager said the effort would be “infusing $1 million a month into our local economy.” While that monthly figure never materialized, the program has surpassed a combined total of one million dollars after four months.
The Great Plates program uses state and federal emergency funds to pay for up to three meals to be delivered to qualifying seniors and certain other at-risk individuals each day. The meals must be low sodium, and include a fresh fruit or vegetable, according to state guidelines.
FEMA is providing 75% of the funds, with CalOES providing 18.75%. The remaining 6.25% is matched by local funds.
As reported by The Sentinel last month, the program is being administered in various other cities and has been largely successful in providing meals, while keeping restaurant employees working. However, some news outlets have reported problems with seniors who haven’t received the amount of meals, or the quality they were promised.
The program has already reached its capacity for seniors to apply, but restaurants are still invited to sign up to benefit from the program. The Great Plates Delivered initiative allows for restaurants to receive up to $66 per person for three daily meals, including delivery.
The program was recently extended to continue through October 9.
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