County to Launch Groundbreaking Partnership to Employ and Feed Los Angeles Seniors

Governor Gavin Newsom recently launched the first-in-the-nation “Great Plates Delivered” program, a meal delivery service for California’s older adults. The County of Los Angeles will be administering this program locally, starting with a partnership between the Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) Department and Unite Here, Local 11’s Hospitality Training Academy (HTA).

“Since the inception of this pandemic, our elderly population has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This program will not only allow seniors to get the nutrition they need while staying at home, but will also provide employment opportunities for workers in the hospitality industry – one of the first sectors to lay off employees during this crisis.”

Through this partnership, individuals who are considered high risk will be able to stay home and stay healthy, all while providing an essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during this crisis. WDACS plans to utilize the HTA’s network of hotels and commercial kitchens to provide three meals a day to 1,500 individuals across the County. Ultimately, the County will expand the program to include local restaurants.

“This innovative program creates jobs for union workers to craft nutritious meals and deliver them to older adults,” said Otto Solórzano, Acting Director of the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. “This is part of our continued effort to maximize the impact of every taxpayer dollar. We are creating jobs and combating hunger at the same time.”

Unite Here Local 11 represents 31,000 members and 160 hospitality and food service employers in Los Angeles County, Orange County and Arizona. The Hospitality Training Academy provides the only hospitality/food service training program in California that focuses on union employment, providing participants with an opportunity to secure career pathways with good wages and benefits.

“Our members are trained professionals, and we see this as an opportunity to use the massive kitchens that our employers have and put them to good use,” said Susan Minato, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11 and Chair of the HTA. “Our members are proud to share their skills and take proper and safe care of the public in need, much like they take care of guests in the good times.”

Serving our Community is a win-win for the state and for the region; tourism is one of the largest industries in Southern California. Putting people back to work is the first step to bring back the economy of the region,” said Minato.

“I am so happy to be back to work and help provide this service for seniors in need during this crisis,” said Marisa Arellano, a cook at USC.

For more information about joining the program or to request meal delivery, please visit, wdacs.lacounty.gov or call 2-1-1 or 800-510-2020.