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September 17, 2021

Monterey County’s senior meals program to end Friday

Great Plates Delivered provided more than $6.3M in stimulus money to local restaurants

MONTEREY COUNTY — Great Plates Delivered, a Monterey County program meant to help vulnerable seniors and boost local business, will end on Friday, July 9.

As part of the yearlong program, area restaurants signed up to provide food for seniors who wished to maintain social distancing. South Monterey County participants were Linda’s Taqueria in Gonzales and The Cork & Plough in King City.

Diana Jimenez, Deputy Director of Social Services for Monterey County, announced the incoming sunset for the program during a June 30 press briefing.

“We have delivered over 279,000 meals and provided over $6.3 million in stimulus money to local restaurants who served an average of 320 seniors on a monthly basis,” Jimenez said. “The program was implemented May of last year by the Department of Social Services to provide assistance to older adults as they sheltered in place and also to provide some financial support to local food businesses, which were impacted by the Covid-19 virus.”

Jimenez paraphrased an email she received from a local restaurant in response to the program.

“The program has not only saved them physically, mentally, spiritually, morally and of course financially, but it added stability to them,” she said. “Not just to the business owner, but the employees and their families that they hired that was possible through this program.”

Great Plates Delivered was a temporary emergency relief program by FEMA and California Office of Emergency Services to reinforce social distancing, minimize hospital surge and address food insecurity during the pandemic.

With the program coming to an end Friday, Social Services has worked to inform seniors of alternatives, including Cal Fresh, local food banks and Meals on Wheels.

“There’s some alternative programs and we’re hoping that all the seniors who participated in the Great Plates program will transition to one of them,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez credited Social Services staff with working diligently behind the scenes and the United Way’s 2-1-1 staff for assisting with referrals.

“We want to thank the participating businesses who dedicated themselves to provide delicious meals to seniors during the pandemic,” she said.

Sean Roney
Sean Roney is the reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.
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