County to launch ‘Great Plates Delivered’

Initiative will provide meals to older adults and support local workers

OW Staff Writer | 5/28/2020, midnight

The County of Los Angeles recently announced participation in the State of California’s ‘Great Plates Delivered’ initiative. With the support of the Board of Supervisors and with a partnership between the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) and the Office of Emergency Management, LA County will provide three home-delivered meals a day to qualifying older adults and adults over 60 who are high-risk as determined by the CDC, while also stimulating the economy by bringing employees back to work from the restaurant, hospitality, and transportation industries.

Individual participants may apply for ‘Great Plates Delivered’ by calling 2-1-1. To be eligible for participation, individuals must meet requirements that include age, inability to prepare or obtain meals, and are not currently receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs. Visit https://wdacs.lacounty.gov/greatplates/.

Restaurants interested in participating in the ‘Great Plates Delivered’ program should fill out an interest form. Food providers will be selected based on factors that include their ability to meet volume and nutritional standards, and prioritize local jobs, worker retention, worker health and safety, and standards of equity and fairness in employment practices. The County is finalizing additional criteria which will be posted on the webpage in the days ahead.

LA County is launching the first phase of ‘Great Plates Delivered’ initiative with a partnership with UNITE HERE Local 11’s Hospitality Training Academy (HTA) as WDACS continues to work to expand the program with partnerships with local restaurants. HTA offers the only hospitality/food service training program in California that focuses on union employment, providing participants with an opportunity to secure career pathways with good wages and benefits. HTA will utilize its network of hotels and commercial kitchens to provide three meals a day to 1,500 individuals across the County.

The County will also partner with restaurants/food service providers, including small neighborhood food establishments, to provide meals through the ‘Great Plates Delivered’ program. To the extent possible, the County will assign participants to restaurants located in the same city or neighborhood.

“L.A. County is proud to partner with hospitality workers, restaurants, and cities to implement this innovative program to provide meals for seniors who are most in need,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “This collaborative effort bolsters local business, supports the regional economy, and ensures the well-being and care of at-risk seniors. This act of unity and creativity, which benefits so many in our community, is a win-win.”

“Since the inception of this pandemic, our elderly population has been the most vulnerable and disproportionately impacted community by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This program will not only allow seniors to get the nutrition they need while at home, but will provide employment opportunities for union workers who need it the most.”

“This innovative program creates jobs for union and restaurant workers to craft nutritious meals and deliver them to older adults,” said Otto Solórzano, acting director of the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. “This is part of our continued effort to maximize the impact of every taxpayer dollar. We are creating jobs and combating hunger at the same time.”

‘Great Plates Delivered’ is jointly funded by FEMA (75-percent match), the State (18.75 percent), and local jurisdictions (6.25 percent). Per FEMA, the program will run until June 10. It is anticipated that the State will seek two additional 30-day extensions from FEMA which, if approved, would extend ‘Great Plates Delivered’ to as late as August 10.