About 36 hours after the Santa Clara City Hall made the decision to provide weekend meals for seniors, the first vans of packaged meals rolled out of a Santa Clara Convention Center exhibit hall thanks to a fast-working team that included City staff, Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation, Spectra Venue Management and Levy Premium Food Service.
The supplemental meal program provides weekend meals for seniors, who are at most risk if they contract COVID-19. The packages include two breakfasts and two lunches and will be delivered both at the Senior Center and to homebound seniors by members of the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation, who are volunteering their time.
The weekend meal program grew out of the City’s effort to supplement Santa Clara Unified School District’s weekday meal service with weekend meals, explained Assistant City Manager Cynthia Bojorquez.
“We recognized that there was the same need for seniors. So, we started considering how we could fill the gap,” she said.
“We reached out to Spectra [Convention Center management company], Levy’s [Convention Center food service] and the Firefighters Foundation,” Bojorquez continued. “We are very fortunate in having an asset like the Convention Center we can use for deploying services at this time. We were able to mobilize quickly. It’s a true partnership.”
“We’re glad to be able to organize this resource for the community,” said Spectra’s Convention Center General Manager, Kelly Carr.
The first meals were staged at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Friday and about 12 firefighters volunteers loaded the vans and set out at about 11 a.m. for the first deliveries. Some of the firefighters were just coming off their shifts — which can be as long as 48 hours — and were making the deliveries on their way home, said Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation Board Member Steve Silva.
“Mayor Gillmor and City Manager Santana called me about 36 hours ago,” Silva said. “They told me they were concerned about our seniors. And we said, ‘of course we will help.’ One of our Foundation’s programs is Senior Assist, which helps with a wide variety of people’s needs.”
“We’re all on the same team,” said Christopher Hamilton, Levy’s General Manager of Food Service at the Convention Center. “The City asked for our help and we were glad to support the community.”
His team had about 24 hours to prepare the meals, Hamilton said. “We had to work with what we had in house. Deliveries are limited and there are caps on what we order. We had to think about meals that are shelf-stable.” Some of the meals utilized food originally purchased for now-cancelled events.
Despite short notice and limited supplies, Hamilton’s team was able to whip up appetizing menus, including roast turkey sandwiches on cranberry walnut bread, roast beef sandwiches on sour dough, and Greek salads.
Initial funding came from the City, including Community Benefit funds, said Bojorquez, but more money will be needed. The Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation is accepting donations for the meal program.
“One hundred percent of donations go back into programs,” said the Foundation’s Silva. To donate, visit http://www.santaclarafirefightersfoundation.org/sc-helps.
Want to help? Any currently registered City of Santa Clara volunteers that want to help with the meal program should email firstname.lastname@example.org with their names, phone numbers and email addresses.
Santa Clara Senior Center continues to serve take-out lunch for City residents 60 and older, and on Friday introduced drive-through meal pickup between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. To order weekday and weekend meals, call the Senior Center at 408-615-3170.
Sunnyvale Adds New Senior Services
Sunnyvale has expanded its services for residents 65 and older with grocery delivery and prescription pick-up and delivery. The City’s Care Management program — connecting seniors and their families with needed services and care — is also continuing to operate.
The Sunnyvale Senior Center is offering takeout and delivered lunch Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. People can make reservations by calling (408) 730-7371.
If other services are needed, “let us know and we’ll do our best to help,” said Sunnyvale Communications Officer Jennifer Garnett.
“We know this situation is causing uncertainty and worry, and we are doing everything we can to help our community and especially our seniors,” Garnett said. “We’re so proud of our City staff, volunteers and partners like Sunnyvale Community Services who are pulling together and acting quickly to reach out and respond to as many needs as possible.”
Reach Sunnyvale Senior Center Services at 408-730-7360, and Community Services at 408-738-4321.
Need More Help?
Additional meals and in-home services are available through Meals on Wheels (408-350-3246) and the Department of Aging and Adult Services (www.sccgov.org/sites/ssa/daas, (408) 755-7600).