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A program designed to give local restaurants some business and help feed at-risk seniors launches today in Long Beach.

Called the Great Plates Delivered: Home Meals For Seniors, the concept surfaced last month, with Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement of the program. Meals delivered May 29-June 10 will be mostly paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through the state, with the state already asking for an extension through July.

How much the program will cost the city was not immediately known.

But Long Beach’s initiative is part of a statewide program Newsom announced last month. The city will be responsible for managing the program, though the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse three-quarters of the cost, according to the state guidelines.

Local agencies are supposed to pay 6.25% of the cost, with California picking up the rest, according to the guidelines, but state officials are trying to find a way to cover the local costs as well.

California’s Great Plates Delivered guidelines also say the local program’s cost must be capped at $66 for three daily meals.

To participate, restaurant operators must complete a Request For Proposals (RFP) available today, Monday, May 18, through 11 a.m. Thursday, May 21. The city's announcement says that preference will be given to locally owned and/or locally sourced businesses that can provide meals that can be frozen and reheated.

The application is available at www.longbeach.gov/finance/business-info/purchasing-division/.

The program is designed to provide up to three free nutritious meals delivered daily to qualified adults older than 65 years of age, or adults 60-64 who are at high risk of COVID-19. Details about how to apply to receive food will be released later, the release said.

For more information about the RFP process, email rfppurchasing@longbeach.gov. For city information and response to COVID-19, go to longbeach.gov/COVID19.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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