"Normally Meals on Wheels Orange County has a more traditional menu... But, we did not have a Vietnamese meal offering so we're very excited to be able to offer six meals per person," said Delena Gutierrez, vice president of social services at Meals on Wheels Orange County.
"That really makes our Vietnamese American seniors really, really happy," said Westminster Mayor Tri Ta.
Two-hundred and fifty seniors a week have ordered the authentic Vietnamese meals and the city of Westminster says demand has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Before coronavirus hit, the city served 200 seniors and now they're serving 800. The nonprofit Meals on Wheels Orange County served 10,000 seniors countywide before the pandemic and now they're serving 20,000.
"There were some seniors who were crying in excitement to receive the meals," said Gutierrez. "When you have to take part in a food assistance program, it can be very challenging, and to be able to enjoy food from your childhood from where you're from, what you ate together as a family around the dinner table, warms your heart."
The Vietnamese meals are possible thanks to a partnership with the city of Westminster and the hope is to continue offering the cuisine weekly.
"We try to do our best to serve our community, especially during this pandemic," said Mayor Ta.
Meals on Wheels Orange County says when the pandemic ends, it won't be easy for seniors to just go back to normal because of lingering fears about the virus and other issues caused by over a year of isolation. If you'd like to support the program, you can visit its website.