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Sacramento launches 'Great Plates' program to feed seniors, help restaurants

Restaurant owners can make up to $12,000 per week with the program, but it's unclear when they'll be paid for their services.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — During a Zoom press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced the launch of the Great Plates feeding program for Sacramento seniors.

Thirty restaurants are participating, and Zion Taddese owner of Queen Sheba is one of them.

"Fifty meals, every other day," Taddese explained. "So we will be doing breakfast lunch and dinner every day."

Business owners will receive $60 per meal kit, which means a restaurant like Taddese's will make $9,000 if they participate three days a week and up to $12,000 if they make food four days a week.

The state began rolling out its own Great Plates program on Wednesday, fleshing out the website for restaurants who express interest in participating.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the program on April 24, but it's unclear when the initiative will launch statewide.

For Sacramento's program, there is no word on when the city will cut checks to participating restaurants, explained Julia Burrows, Senior Policy Consultant to Mayor Steinberg.

Burrows said that the city will receive 75% reimbursement from FEMA to pay restaurants owners with half up front to help with cash flow.

"We are working with state [Office of Emergency Services]. FEMA is going to expedite 50% of the 75% with in 10 days," Burrows said.

Taddese was notified she would not be paid the money up front for her services and will use her own funds to pay for the meals — for now. Taddese said not all restaurant owners are in the financial position to do the same.

"Other [restaurants], if they don't have the loan, they don't have the [Paycheck Protection Program] money, how do they provide that," Taddese said. 

Burrows said the goal is to have the first round of restaurants start serving meals by next Wednesday, but admits there's been a delay, since the city is still enrolling the 1,000 seniors that qualify.

Seniors 65 and over qualify if they make no more than $74,900, no more than $100,000 for a couple, and aren’t enrolled in other state or federally supported benefit programs.

Almost 200 restaurants within the city have applied to participate in Great Plates program.

In order to be eligible, restaurants must be able to produce 50 meal kits a day, be current on their business taxes, provide proof of insurance, register as a vendor with the city and have a current health certification from Sacramento County.

Here is a list of Sacramento restaurants that are participating in the first phase of the program:

  • A Taste Above, LLC
  • Andy Nguyen Vegetarian
  • Binchoyaki
  • Broderick House
  • Burgess Brothers DBA Avengers Hospitality
  • Caballo Blanco Restaurant
  • Camden Spit and Larder
  • Canon
  • Colo's Soul Food
  • de Vere’s Irish Pub
  • Device
  • Dos Coyotes Border Café – North Natomas
  • Falafel Corner
  • Fixins Soul Kitchen
  • Haveli Grill Inc.
  • Hawks Provisions + Public House
  • House Of Queen Sheba
  • Jimmy's Soul Food and Hmong Cuisine
  • Koshi Ramen Bar
  • Louisiana Heaven
  • Mulvaney’s B&L
  • Pho Ru Vietnamese Restaurant
  • Plates Cafe & Catering
  • Purple Pig Eats
  • Rossi Catering
  • Sacramento Catering Collective
  • Selland's Market Cafe
  • Viet Ha Noodles & Grill
  • Woodlake Tavern 

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