California provides free meals to elderly

San Francisco, April 25 (IANS) California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has launched a program to provide daily free meals to the elderly who qualify for the scheme.

The “Restaurants Deliver: Home Meals for Seniors” launched on Friday is coordinated by federal, state, county and city authorities, reports Xinhua news agency.

It is said to be the first program of its kind in the US.

According to the regulation, seniors who are qualified to receive the supply of three meals a day and seven days a week must be at high risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus or have compromised immune systems, and they need to be in a certain financial position.

Those who are eligible will be reimbursed $16 dollars for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $28 for dinner.

“It’s not just about the meals,” Newsom said on Friday during his daily coronavirus briefing.

“It’s about a human connection, about someone just checking in as they’re delivering those meals and making sure people are OK.”

He estimated that there are over 5.7 million older adults in California and that 1.7 million of them live alone and may be unable to cook their own meals.

In addition to helping these residents, this program is also designed to create jobs, the governor noted, saying it will “provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses and workers struggling to stay afloat during the COVID crisis”.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pick up 75 per cent of the cost, and California will pay three-quarters of the remaining cost, Newsom said, adding local governments will be responsible for the rest.