One of the distressing offshoots of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the rapid rise in food insecurity, particularly among isolated seniors. Throughout the city, there are thousands of seniors who are living alone, with no one to assist them with meals, who cannot leave home because they are at highest risk from the virus. That situation is even more heartbreaking when those seniors have limited financial resources, and thus often don't know where their next meal is coming from, or if it's coming at all. In response, countless nonprofit organizations and their volunteers have redoubled their work to feed those in need, and their efforts have made an enormous difference and inspired us all.
Still, there is a growing unmet need for meals. To meet that demand, I have been working closely for several weeks with Mayor Garcetti and the office of Governor Gavin Newsome to develop a new senior meals program that we announced this week. This program is the City's most ambitious effort to address the issue of food insecurity among our seniors during this unprecedented challenging time, and it will provide tens of thousands of prepared meals to seniors who are not otherwise participating in existing meal delivery programs.
Another important aspect of this program is that the meals are being provided by local restaurants and banquet facilities that have been economically devastated by the Safer at Home requirements, so we will be putting people back to work while we are feeding vulnerable seniors.
I will be coordinating the City Council's support and implementation of this citywide program, along with my colleague Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. We are guided to a large degree by the incredible work that all of our colleagues have been doing in their own districts to meet this need. On Wednesday we jointly introduced a motion to add $25 million to fund the program through its initial period (almost all of which will be reimbursed to the city through federal and state emergency funding sources).
All seniors who meet the eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply online at coronavirus.lacity.org/seniormeals.
During the pandemic and its aftermath, we need to ensure that all of our isolated seniors have access to healthy meals. This program is an important step in meeting that goal and, at the same time, helping the city's economy to begin to recover.