Program that pays eateries to deliver to seniors during pandemic marks 1 yr milestone

Program that pays eateries to deliver to seniors marks one-year anniversary

in Community/Food

A San Mateo County program that’s been paying local restaurants and caterers to deliver three healthy meals per day to seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic will mark its one-year anniversary on Sunday.

Great Plates Delivered, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has been a source of safety and comfort for older adults, and an economic lifeline for many businesses that suffered amid pandemic safety restrictions, the County says. The pandemic program has been funded at least through the end of June.

“Nearly nine out of 10 participating establishments surveyed in January 2021 reported they would have failed without Great Plates,” according to the County.

The over 2.3 million meals delivered to about 4,500 older adults in the County generated $52 million in economic activity and saved or created between 330 and 550 full-time-equivalent jobs, the County said. Fete Fraiche, a Redwood City boutique caterer, is among 81 participating businesses. Owner Marissa Tsangaropoulos called the program a lifeline during the pandemic, “without which my small woman-owned business would not have survived.”

“The program has afforded me the opportunity to bring back staff with steady hours and pay, expand local sourcing and, make a difference in the health and quality of life of the seniors we serve,” Tsangaropoulos said.

The program also saved CuisineStyle, a Burlingame-based catering business, from “certain closure,” its owner Pamela Keith said.

“I speak with many of our seniors each week, and I feel proud to say the Great Plates Delivered program is giving our seniors something extraordinary – meals that sustain their health and wellbeing during this unprecedented time, and the incalculably valuable knowledge that we’re getting through this, together,” Keith said.

Residents can find out if they are eligible online or by calling San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services at 1-800-675-8437.

Photos courtesy of San Mateo County (Pamela Keith featured in photo, but not all meals featured were necessarily prepared by her business)