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Great Plates Meal Delivery Program for At-Risk Seniors in Need of Food Assistance

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San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the launch of Great Plates Delivered SF, an emergency food assistance program for seniors sheltering in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will deliver three free restaurant meals a day to seniors, who are at high-risk from COVID-19. The program is also an economic catalyst for local restaurants and food vendors, who will partner with the City to prepare and deliver meals.

“Staying home is especially important for seniors, who continue to be at greater risk for COVID-19. But that means many older adults also need additional support in accessing meals and groceries while staying at home,” said Mayor Breed. “Great Plates Delivered SF will provide freshly prepared, nutritious meals for our seniors while helping to bring much-needed business back to some of our local restaurants.”

In late April, Governor Newsom announced the availability of state funding for locally administered Great Plates Delivered programs in an effort to support at-risk seniors throughout the state while reigniting economic activity. Given that seniors are at heightened risk of COVID-19, this program is for older adults who live alone or with another senior and are unable to prepare or obtain meals while sheltering in place.

Since the Governor announced the temporary program last month, over 350 eligible clients have contacted the City’s disability and aging helpline to sign up for the program. The City’s Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) estimates that Great Plates Delivered SF could end up serving over 6,000 seniors daily.

“Access to food is critical during this COVID-19 emergency and we know there is still considerable need. Great Plates Delivered SF is an innovative City and community partnership that will address food insecurity, particularly for those older adults who live alone or do not have additional support in place,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of DAS. “Through this new program, many seniors will be able to access the food they need to stay healthy and safe during this crisis.”

Great Plates Delivered SF will serve eligible seniors over 65, as well as those aged 60 - 64 with certain underlying health conditions. Eligible seniors must live alone or with another eligible senior and earn less than $74,940 for a single-person household or $101,460 for a two-person household. Participants will receive up to three free meals a day provided by local food vendors that have entered into a partnership with the City. All deliveries will be contactless for safety, and all individuals delivering meals are subject to a background check.

In April, the City conducted a public procurement process for the Great Plates Delivered SF program and selected SF New Deal, a San Francisco based non-profit and rapid response organization, as the primary vendor. SF New Deal is currently providing 20,000 meals per week to vulnerable San Franciscans and has partnerships with over 65 local restaurants across San Francisco.

“We are excited to partner with the City to bring Great Plates Delivered SF to the community. This will provide seniors with access to delicious meals made by local small businesses. Neighbors are helping to keep neighbors nourished, healthy, and safe,” said Lenore Estrada, Executive Director of SF New Deal, a volunteer-led, nonprofit rapid response effort. “With over 65 local restaurants already on our roster, collaborating with Great Plates Delivered SF will allow us to provide to more members of our community and to bring onboard additional local businesses and the workers they employ. We are so grateful for the support of Mayor London Breed and all of the City employees for continuing to support the essential needs of everyone in our community.”

Older adults interested in the program can call (415) 355-6700 for assistance. This helpline is operated by DAS and is available seven days a week, from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Support is provided in multiple languages.

Seniors who currently receive state or federal food assistance such as CalFresh or home-delivered meals should contact the DAS helpline to understand their eligibility for this program or other assistance: (415) 355-6700. San Francisco residents seeking additional information about Great Plates Delivered SF can visit: sfhsa.org/GreatPlates.

Addressing food insecurity and expanding food access has also been a critical objective of the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Last week, Mayor Breed announced a major contribution of $15 million to the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, with $5 million going to food security efforts. To date, the EOC’s Feeding Unit has:

  • Delivered over 20,000 meals in partnership with Off the Grid, who prepared meals for medically isolated San Franciscans who are COVID-19 positive or living with a COVID-19 positive individual.
  • Delivered close to 20,000 meals to vulnerable clients of organizations such as City Suppers, Project Open Hand, and Self Help for the Elderly.
  • Deployed a daily average of 70 City employees to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank to help package and distribute roughly 2,800 grocery bags per day.

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