'Great Plates Delivered' program helps vulnerable seniors receive free meals during COVID-19 crisis

Each delivery contains breakfast, lunch and dinner. The program enlists local restaurants to prepare and deliver the food.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino County employees, gloved and masked, picked up bags containing meals for seniors who signed up for the "Great Plates Delivered" program. On Saturday, they launched the program by fanning out across the region to make deliveries.

"So, the program has launched and we are moving forward to serve individuals throughout the county of San Bernardino," said Sharon Nevins, director of the San Bernardino County Public Guardian.

On April 24, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to pay for and deliver three meals a day to vulnerable seniors during the coronavirus crisis. California was first in the nation to announce the initiative.

Each delivery contains breakfast, lunch and dinner. The program enlists local restaurants to prepare and deliver the food.

"This program has helped our business immensely," said Mark Furuuchi, owner of Gourmet Gourmet Catering. "We almost were completely shut down from the end of March, just doing a few things here and there. Luckily, this program came up, we were able to employ some of our people and bring them back."

Seniors are eligible for the free meals if they are 65-years-old or older are at high risk for exposure to or have the coronavirus and are within 600% of the poverty level.

"It's been discouraging to have to stay in like this but I am trying to protect myself, protect my children, protect my family," said 71-year-old Dora Boweles.

Boweles was able to qualify for the service after her social worker with the county's Department of Aging and Adult Services let her know about it.

For now, the federal government through FEMA is picking up 75% of the cost with the state and county also contributing to the program. Not every senior will qualify for the program, but both San Bernardino and Riverside counties Department of Aging and Adult Services is encouraging seniors to reach out if they do have a need.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties are currently enrolling seniors in the "Great Plates Delivered" program to learn more click on the links.

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