SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Newsom announced a new partnership with FEMA and local restaurants to help feed California’s most vulnerable senior citizens. Approximately 1.2 million senior citizens in California are living alone.
Newsom said the partnership will not only provide seniors meals, but it will also allow for restaurants to rehire employees that were let go due to the pandemic. The plan, which is effective immediately, calls for local restaurants all over California to make meals that will be delivered three times a day, seven days a week. There is currently no cap on how many meals will be provided. The governor said the meals will focus on hyperlocal items and called them “nutritious,” low sodium, and not full of sugar.
The governor stressed that this plan is not only great for seniors, but it also gets people back to work. He said, “It is not just about the meals, it is about the human connection.” Delivery drivers will be able to leave food and check on the mental wellbeing of the seniors.
The restaurants that participate in the program will be chosen by local governments across the state.
However, vulnerable senior citizens must be eligible to receive these meals. They must be at a high risk of exposure, be below the federal poverty line, or have a compromised immune system or have been previously exposed to the virus.
When it comes to money, restaurants will be reimbursed $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and up to $28 for dinner. FEMA will pick up 75 percent of the cost, the state government will cover 75 percent of the remaining 25 percent while local governments will pick up the rest of the cost.
Governor Newsom also announced a partnership with United Airlines. The airline will allow the employees of their call centers to be used for wellness calls to check on the mental health of the most vulnerable Californians. The state has also opened a friendship line that anyone can call if you need someone to talk to. The California Friendship Line phone number is (888) 670-1360.
The governor also released the most up to date numbers of coronavirus in California. In the last 24 hours, there were 93 more deaths, five percent growth in the number of positive tests, hospitalizations showed no growth, and ICU occupancy dropped by one percent.