County of Marin - News Releases - Great Plates Delivered

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2020

More Free Restaurant Meals on Way to Older Adults

Renewal of Great Plates Delivered program goes before Supervisors on August 25

AUGUST 25 UPDATE: The Board of Supervisors approved the program renewal. 

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Board Supervisors will consider renewing the State of California’s Great Plates Delivered Program, set up to provide free meals to qualified older adults who are sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic and ineligible for other nutrition programs.

Two cooks at Iron Springs Pub & Brewery show bags of packaged food that will be delivered to Great Plates Program recipients.Iron Springs Pub & Brewery of Fairfax, represented by Wendy (left) and Lulu of the kitchen staff, was one of the vendors participating in the Great Plates Delivered Program this spring. The program is up for renewal on August 25.

In partnership with the business community, the County of Marin participated in pilot program between May 18 and June 10, recruiting 28 local restaurants and catering companies to provide up to three meals per day to 717 older adults who were at high risk for the disease and met the program criteria. Encouraged by recent Board support, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will request approval of a $976,016 budget appropriation to renew the program for the same 717 recipients and same 28 vendors between September 10 and October 9.

The same 717 program recipients will be automatically reinstated to the program if the Board of Supervisors approves the action during its August 25 meeting. There will be no need for them to re-enroll in Great Plates.

The program also is a way for the County to support local restaurants and other food providers who are struggling financially because of the economic downturn related to COVID-19. There may be application openings if any of the 28 vendors decide not to participate in a renewed program. There is an especially strong need for service to West Marin recipients. Vendors may contact Kari Beuerman, Director for Social Services, with questions at (415) 473-6263.

Expansion of Marin Great Plates to new recipients is not possible at this time, but other resources are available to needy residents via the HHS’ Information and Assistance Line, (415) 473-INFO.

“The pilot was well received by residents and the participating vendors alike,” Beuerman said. “Some older adults reported that it was the best they had eaten in years and that the program helped them come back to life during these difficult times. Restaurants commented that it was a gratifying and moving experience to see people in need enjoying the food they prepared. We’re glad the state created this program, which allows these vulnerable seniors to remain safe at home during this uncertain time as well as timely business for our local meal providers.”

Program participants receive three free restaurant meals a day, five days per week. To qualify, the applicants had to be:

  • Individuals who are 65 or older, or 60-64 and at high-risk as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, including those who are medically documented as COVID-19 positive, COVID-19 exposed, or living with an underlying health condition;
  • Individuals living alone or with one other program-eligible adult;
  • Individuals not receiving assistance from other state or federal nutrition assistance programs;
  • Individuals earning no more than 600% of the federal poverty limit, which is $74,940 or $101,460 for a household of two;
  • Individuals who can affirm an inability to prepare or obtain meals.

Program costs to the funding parties for the three meals are limited to $66 per day, including tax, delivery, and incidental costs – a maximum of $17 for breakfast, $18 for lunch, and $31 for dinner. Local restaurants developed modified menus to meet nutritional guidelines and cost requirements.

The majority of the program costs potentially will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of California. The remaining share of cost (6.25%) will be shared by the participating restaurants.


Kari Beuerman
Social Services Director
Department of Health and Human Services

20 N. San Pedro Rd.
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6263
Email: Kari Beuerman
Marin HHS website