A Comprehensive Look: Landmark COVID-19 Relief Program Great Plates Delivered Wraps Up Operations


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As the coronavirus crisis eases here in California, the Great Plates Delivered Program will officially come to a close on July 9, 2021. This statewide project that supported both sequestered seniors and struggling food vendors during the pandemic achieved many milestones, including providing over 37 million meals to eligible participants in 40 local governments.


Over a Year Ago

On April 24, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of the first-in-the-nation Great Plates Delivered program, a meal delivery service for California’s older adults.

“The Great Plates Delivered program’s success is an example of what’s possible when federal, state, and local leaders set aside politics and come together to protect our communities from the threat of COVID-19,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.



This emergency program was created with two purposes in mind: (1) to help seniors and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day, and (2) provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis. Reflecting on its original goals, the program today has exceeded expectations by also bringing together partnerships and collaboration efforts between local governments and its local food businesses, and older community members.

“The Great Plates Delivered Program has truly brought out the best of what California has to offer. I feel incredibly thankful for all of the local governments, food businesses, community members, and state partners who worked together to make sure those who were most vulnerable to COVID-19 stayed home and received nutritious meals,” said Cal OES Deputy Director Ryan Buras. “Those who were involved in the program’s administration have played a significant role in reducing the risk of virus transmission among older Californians and softening the effects of the pandemic on local food businesses.”



After more than a year since the pioneering program kicked off and, from the first meal to the last, local jurisdictions that participated and/or are still participating in the Great Plates Delivered program have delivered over 37 million meals to eligible participants since their respective programs launched. Of the contracted food providers participating in the program, nearly 60 percent identified as minority-owned.

At its peak, Great Plates Delivered was successfully carrying out program operations in a total of 41 local governments (10 Area Agencies on Aging, 10 counties, and 21 cities) across California. These local governments collaborated with more than 800 local food businesses, supported over 9,500 food industry jobs, and served over 55,000 older Californians amid the pandemic.

Currently, as we near the July 9, 2021 completion date, there are 23 local governments (14 counties and 9 cities) that continue to administer the Great Plates Delivered program. These local governments are collaborating with 544 local food businesses, supporting 6,882 food industry jobs, and serving 31,326 older Californians.

To date, local jurisdictions that participated and/or are still participating in the Great Plates Delivered program have delivered over 37 million meals to eligible participants since their respective programs launched. Of the contracted food providers participating in the program, nearly 60% identified as minority-owned.



“It takes a village and we here at Beola’s Southern Cuisine are proud to be a Great Plates Delivered provider,” said Alex M., Co-Owner of Beola’s Southern Cuisine in Ontario. “Without the support of our staff, friends, and community partners we would not be able to push forward.”

“As the owner of Tequila Museo Mayahuel and other restaurants, our team and myself have enjoyed almost 9 years of successful operation in Downtown Sacramento,” commented Ernesto D., Owner of Tequila Museo Mayahuel in Sacramento. “Today, my business and others in the downtown area are facing the real danger that we won’t be able to stay open or even re-open. The Great Plates Delivered Program has defined the survival of my business and has enabled me to pay my employees and continue to stay in business.”

“I would like to thank everybody administering our Great Plates Delivered meal delivery program, as well as our providers and GREAT Delivery People for helping to keep us all stay safer at home,” said Great Plates Delivered recipient John M. “Thank each of you for stepping up to the difficult task, doing a great job helping to provide our enjoyable, delicious, and nutritious meals every single day.”

“I am a grateful recipient of the Great Plates program, said Great Plates Delivered recipient Juanita B. “This program has helped us senior citizens tremendously during this awful time. Thank you.”

For additional food and nutrition resources and to connect older Californians in your community to meal delivery services available beyond July 9, 2021, log on to Area Agencies on Aging or call (800) 510-2020.


***Previous Stories on Great Plates Delivered***

Press Releases

June 19, 2020: Governor Newsom Helps Prepare Meals at Sacramento Restaurant as Part of Great Plates Delivered Program

June 22, 2020: California’s Response by the Numbers

January 5, 2021: Governor Newsom to Propose $4.5 Billion for Equitable Recovery for California’s Businesses and Jobs in 2021 Budget

February 5, 2021: Governor Newsom Statement on Increased Federal Support from Biden-Harris Administration for COVID-19 Relief Programs in California


Link to Cal OES video on Great Plates Delivered:

“Great Plates Delivered”: Free Meal Deliveries for Seniors Also Helps Businesses – YouTube

Enlace al video de Cal OES en Great Plates Delivered (versión en español):

Platillos Excellentes: Entrega de Comidas Gratuitas Para Adultos Mayores (Great Plates Delivered) – YouTube