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New Program Using Ventura County Restaurants To Prepare Meals For Seniors Shut In By Coronavirus


It’s been a long, lonely spring for Harvey Carl. The 83-year-old widower has been a virtual shut-in at his Oak Park home, with only a rare, quick trip out with a friend for groceries.

Carl’s meals have included things which are easy to make, like cereal and canned food. But, this week, he became the part of what’s called the “Great Plates Delivered” program.

It’s a new state program which helps feed senior shut-ins, and at the same time helps financially troubled restaurants stay in business. The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging brought the program to the county.

Participating restaurants in the county deliver three fully prepared meals a day for free: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are all prepackaged and delivered at the same time to minimize contact.

Brent’s Deli in Westlake Village is one of the latest restaurants to join the program. Mark Hernandez is one of Brent Deli’s partners. He says the program is a huge help for the popular restaurant, which like many has been struggling since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

The program is currently set to run through June 10th. It’s expected the federal government and the state will pick up more than 90% of the costs. The program allocates up to $66 dollars a day for the three meals, including delivery.

The “Great Plates Program” is specifically focused on those most at risk, including those over 65, and those 60-64 who are considered to be in high risk categories. There are some income requirements to qualify.

Janette Jauregui with the VCAAA says that with the addition of “Great Plates”  to their programs, the Agency has gone from serving about 4,000 to 14,000 seniors in the county.

They’ve also had a long running program where people can go get meals, and in addition to the new “Great Plates” program, they’ve added a food pantry program.

Meanwhile, Mark Hernandez at Brent's Deli says it feels good to help those in a community which has supported the Westlake Village restaurant for so long, while Harvey Carl says it’s nice to eat something that didn't necessarily come in a can or box.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.