Above: Governor Gavin Newsom (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Saida Maalin | Contributor
To help at-risk seniors who are in need of food during this global pandemic, Riverside County health officials are asking businesses in the Hemet, San Jacinto, Banning, Beaumont and Perris areas and surrounding communities to provide meals.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced the plan as “Great Plates Delivered: Home Meals for Seniors” on April 24th.
The program intends to help senior citizens who are at a higher risk of contracting the novel Coronavirus, especially those with underlying conditions that could worsen once infected.
To avoid the risk of exposure, businesses are asked to provide three meals per day, seven days a week including delivery for seniors 65 and older.
“I am particularly proud that the Great Plates Delivered program was piloted in the Fourth District, with Norma’s Italian Kitchen in Rancho Mirage being the first restaurant in Riverside County to get signed up and deliver their amazing dishes to senior citizens,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez.
The program will cost about $66 for three daily meals. Any additional fees such as labor and equipment may be eligible for reimbursement and must be related to the services being provided and cannot surpass 5 percent over the initial cost.
This partnership would mean businesses would have more business since the pandemic has required many to shut down or switch to pick-up only.
“This program is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Jewel Lee, director of Riverside County Office on Aging. Long-term care facilities in the county have seen a total of 788 confirmed patient and staff cases of COVID-19, 522 confirmed patient cases and 266 confirmed staff.
Great Plates Delivered is set to run until June 10. If stay-at-home orders and restrictions are not lifted, an extension will be requested for the program to continue until the pandemic is under control.
Restaurants should follow food safety requirements for meal preparations and delivery. Local administrators will determine reimbursement for meal deliveries.
Interested restaurants should visit https://www.rcaging.org/COVID-19/Great-Plates-Delivered-Program and submit an eligibility screening form with contact information. According to the county website qualified businesses will receive delivery information at a later time from local administrators.
Seniors interested in participating in the program when it launches and/or businesses who would like to provide meals can learn more at covid19.ca.gov/img/wp/great-plates-delivered-program-guidance.pdf.