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Great Plates Meal Delivery Program for At-Risk Seniors Extended

News Release

San Francisco, CA – The City of San Francisco today announced the extension of Great Plates Delivered SF, an emergency meal delivery program for older adults unable to prepare or obtain food while sheltering in place due to the pandemic, to Sept. 9, 2020. The citywide program delivers three free meals a day to seniors, who are at high-risk from COVID-19, and is an economic catalyst for local restaurants and food vendors who have partnered with the City to prepare and deliver meals.

“Ensuring people have access to nutritious food during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is one of our top priorities,” said Mayor Breed. “The City has really stepped up to the challenge with our meal and grocery delivery programs, and the Great Plates program is an important piece of that response. The program’s extension is critical for so many of our older residents, while also supporting local businesses at the same time.”

In late April, Governor Newsom announced the availability of state funding for locally administered Great Plates Delivered programs in an effort to support older adults sheltering in place while also supporting local restaurants and food providers.

Since the program’s launch on May 18, San Francisco has partnered with food vendors who have delivered more than 350,000 meals to more than 2,500 older adults in need. The City’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) works with three main food vendors who in turn work with more than 58 providers to deliver approximately 6,250 meals a day. More than 80 percent of the restaurants and food vendors are minority-owned businesses.

“During the COVID-19 emergency, Great Plates Delivered SF has been a vital addition to our City’s food support system for older people,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of DAS. “We appreciate the local restaurants and food providers that have stepped up to participate in this program and provide fresh and healthy meals from a variety of cuisines.”

Great Plates Delivered SF serves eligible seniors over 65, as well as those between the ages of 60 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions and who are unable to prepare or obtain meals while sheltering in place. Eligible seniors must live alone or with another eligible senior and earn less than $74,940 a year for a single-person household or $101,460 for a two-person household. Older adults who currently receive state or federal food assistance such as CalFresh or home-delivered meals are not eligible for Great Plates under the state’s program rules.

Older adults interested in the program or in need of other food support are encouraged to call (415) 355-6700 for assistance. This helpline is operated by DAS and is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Support is provided in multiple languages.

Participants receive up to three free meals a day provided by local food vendors, generally delivered three times per week. To ensure maximum safety and sanitation, all deliveries are contactless. Additionally, individuals hired to deliver meals are subject to background checks.

Addressing food insecurity and expanding food access has been a critical objective of the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The City has created a Citywide Food Support Programs data tracker for the public to show critical information on some of the major City-supported feeding programs. To date, the EOC’s Feeding Unit has:

  • Delivered nearly 45,000 meals for medically isolated San Franciscans who are COVID-19 positive or living with a COVID-19 positive individual.
  • Prepared and delivered close to 115,000 meals since April to people experiencing homelessness.
  • Deployed a daily average of 93 City employees to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to help package and distribute roughly 2,800 grocery bags per day. To date, the Food Bank has distributed more than 500,000 bags of groceries through COVID-specific pop-up food pantries.

Help is available to all San Franciscans in need of food assistance due to COVID-19. If you know anyone who is experiencing hunger or needs help finding food pantries or food assistance programs, please encourage them to call 3-1-1. Operators can help connect San Franciscans with food assistance or specialized support programs such as those for seniors.

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