Day after its launch, more than 1,300 seniors apply for County's new free restaurant delivery service

Posted at 3:54 PM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 23:18:04-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - More than 1,300 seniors have now applied for the County's new home-meal delivery service, just one day after it launched. 10News spoke to a local restaurant owner who's cooking for those who need extra help during the pandemic.

“We had created a free senior delivery [service] on our own but we had a hard time trying to get it out for people to know about it so when this came up, it was a 'no-brainer' for us to try to do this,” said Marsha Kaminski, owner of Kaminski's BBQ in Poway. Her restaurant is one of 28 countywide that are participating in the new Great Plates program, which delivers three free meals daily to qualifying seniors.

San Diego County officials have been inundated with applications from seniors since the website launched locally this Thursday, after Governor Newsom first announced the program a month ago.

“This is a program [that’s] specific to COVID-19. We know that we have many seniors who are home-bound and who are not otherwise able to leave their homes or prepare food on their own. This is meant to fill a gap for those who are not already enrolled in our other nutrition programs,” said Kimberly Gallo with San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services.

Gallo told 10News that restaurants will be fully reimbursed. “Funding comes primarily from FEMA which is approximately 75% of the funding. The state and the counties also have a share of cost,” she added. Gallo said that San Diego County is contributing to about 7% of the cost.

“We want to try to do our part. That's what we all should try to do as humanity is try to do our part if we're physically able to do it,” added Kaminski.

The program is scheduled to run through mid-June. Seniors who want meals and restaurant owners who want to participate can apply online or over the phone.

According to San Diego County officials, eligibility requirements are below.

To qualify for the Great Plates program, applicants must be:

  • Individuals who are 65 or older
  • Individuals 60-64 and at high-risk as defined by the CDC, including (one of the following):
  • Individuals who are COVID-19 positive (as documented by a state/local public health official or medical health professional), OR
  • Individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 (as documented by a state/local public health official or medical health professional), OR
  • Individuals with an underlying condition.
  • Individuals must live alone or with one other program-eligible adult
  • Participants must not be currently receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs
  • Participants must have an annual income within the following range:
    • $24,981-$74,940 (single household)
    • $33,821-$101,460 (two-person household).
    • Those who have an income BELOW $24,981 for a single household or $33,820 for a two-person household are not eligible for the program. However, they may be eligible for CalFresh benefits or other food and meal programs. Please call 2-1-1 to learn about other resources.
  • Individuals must affirm an inability to prepare or obtain meals

Additional information: