Local restaurants are invited to participate in a new project headed by the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) that will provide meals to low-to-moderate income senior citizens in the region.
Participating eateries are eligible for a reimbursement of $20 per meal.
Kathleen McEvoy, Community Development Specialist for WPPDC, said that the reimbursement is a flat rate which will cover the meal and other associated costs such as packaging.
Over the course of 35 weeks, the Southern Area Agency on Aging (SAAA) will be responsible for distributing the meals to approximately 300 qualifying seniors in Henry, Patrick, Franklin, and Pittsylvania counties and the cities of Martinsville and Danville.
One lunch will be provided per week to each senior. The day of the week will vary depending on the senior’s locality.
Participating restaurants may contact the WPPDC for examples of sample meals to prepare.
The meals are intended to address urgent needs in the community related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Since the beginning, this pandemic has been a persistent threat to not only the lives of seniors in our area but also to the livelihoods of our local restaurants. We have an opportunity to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on both through this project,” McEvoy said. “The restaurants get a nice stipend to support their operations and seniors get a hot meal without needing to risk their health. It’s truly a win-win scenario.”
McEvoy said the meals will need to be packaged individually but restaurants may use their usual to-go containers for the program.
Transportation drivers from the SAAA will pick up the meals from the restaurant. Upon arrival, the restaurants will be asked to complete a form verifying the number of meals prepared. The same form will be used by the drivers to verify the meals were dropped off at the appropriate homes.
In addition to the meals provided by the restaurants, fresh food boxes from local producers will be given to nearly 500 seniors within the same service area in partnership with regional farmers’ markets.
Henry County, in partnership with the WPPDC, was recently awarded $400,000 from the Virginia Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus program. The funds will be used by the WPPDC to pay for the entire project.
“This is an incredible opportunity to make a real difference in the community,” said Brandon Martin, Public Relations and Community Liaison for Henry County. “Projects like these go a long way in assisting our most vulnerable residents. Moreover, the grant funds allow us to do so without placing an extra burden on our taxpayers. This is a phenomenal cause and I’d like to thank our community partners for offering their time and donations to such a worthy endeavor.”
Along with addressing food insecurity, the project will also offer baby and toddler supplies to approximately 1,500 low-to-moderate income households in the region through a partnership with the Henry-Martinsville Department of Social Services.
Overall, the grant will support local restaurants, farmers, children and seniors who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
For more questions or for restaurants looking to participate in the program, call Community Development Specialist Patricia Foley at (276) 634-4620 or McEvoy at (276) 638-3987 ext. 7.