SACRAMENTO, California — Robert Sandles, 74, was disappointed to find an "incomplete meal" on his doorstep delivered from the Great Plates Program, a federally-funded business-community partnership to deliver food to Sacramento seniors.
"The salad was like a half a handful for lunch," Sandles explained. "They gave me another thing of rice, but there was no sauce to go with it."
Sandles is one of 750 people receiving free meals coming from 30 different restaurants across the city of Sacramento. The program, which rolled out two weeks ago, allows business owners to make $60 per meal kit, which means they can make $9,000 if they participate three days a week and up to $12,000 if they make food four days a week.
The city will receive 75% reimbursement from FEMA to pay restaurants owners with half up front to help with cash flow. But the program has had some hiccups, Sandles said.
"I'm not a complainer. I'm grateful for what I'm getting, but I know they can do better," Sandles said.
He's not alone. More photos reportedly from other seniors and recipients of the program circulated on Facebook showing what they considered "incomplete meals."
Sandles thinks the program is great, but it needs more oversight.
"I'm grateful for whoever thought of this program to assist the seniors," Sandles said. "I'm eternally grateful for that. As a single person, living by himself, it's very helpful."
Sandles said he hoped by sharing pictures of his meals, everyone involved will strive to provide the best they can.
Sacramento Chef Patrick Mulvaney, who helped jumpstart this now-statewide program in response to the pandemic, agreed with Sandles. In the last couple of months, Mulvaney says local restaurants have provided more than 40,000 meals to people in need in Sacramento. He told ABC10 there's room to improve. He apologized for the complaints like Sandles and said they are working to make the program better.
Sandles said he will continue to get the meals and hopes they improve because he can't risk getting the virus.
"It's better to be 6 feet apart than 6 feet under," Sandles said.
Follow the conversation on Facebook with Madison Wade.
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