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By Eva Barrows                                             Follow East Palo Alto Today on
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September 20, 2020                            EPA Today Facebook page Follow epatoday on Twitter EPA Today Blog Icon


Graphic of Great Plates Delivered meal program

Graphic courtesy of San Mateo County Health


Great Plates Delivered, a program that distributes healthy meals from local food providers to eligible seniors, has been extended through October 9, 2020. The program is part of California’s emergency response to COVID-19.

Locally, the program is administered by San Mateo County. Since meal delivery began May 9, 2020, 2,553 seniors have been served 501,336 meals from 68 food providers. At a press briefing, San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said, “Great Plates Delivered is one of the most incredible things to come out of this crisis.” Callagy went on to say, “It’s really filling a need that whether it's a crisis or not, would probably be there.”

Currently, Great Plates Delivered fulfills two main goals: to safely provide nutritious meals three times a day to seniors with limited means to access food during the pandemic and to employ local restaurants and food providers who are struggling financially during shelter in place orders.

Seniors eligible for the program include those aged 65 and older; adults 60 to 64, who are COVID-19 positive; seniors exposed to COVID-19, and seniors who have an underlying health condition. Those applying for the Great Plates Delivered program also have to meet other criteria involving their income and their participation in other government food programs.

In praising the program, Callagy said, “Over 10 million dollars has been put back into the community through restaurants who are employing folks who would have been otherwise unemployed.”

Great Plates Delivered is jointly funded through federal, state, and county assistance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides 75% of the funding, the State of California 18.75% and San Mateo County pays the remaining 6.25%, which amounts to $634,165 to date.

The program was set to expire on September 9, 2020. “I'm happy to report that FEMA funding will be extended to October 9, 2020, so we will continue another month, which is great,” said Callagy. He also stated that the county would have sponsored the program through September if the state did not.
Based on the need, the state may extend funding for the program beyond the October end date. Michelle Durand, San Mateo County’s chief communications officer, said the program has previously been renewed one to two days before the closing date.

The county is accepting new applications for food delivery assistance. To apply for free meals through the Great Plates Delivered program, call 1-800-675-8437 weekdays from 8 AM to 5 PM. For additional information about the program, go to https://www.smchealth.org/post/great-plates-delivered-faqs.


Eva Barrows contributes articles of special interest to East Palo Alto Today.