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News

13 Ojai Valley restaurants to help feed seniors

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Ojai Valley News photo by Bob Daddi

Residents line up to receive FOOD Share food at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Monday April 27.

 

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter
HELP of Ojai, in coordination with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging, launched a two-week food delivery program Thursday to provide food for seniors and people at high risk for COVID-19.
The program provides locally owned restaurants with  funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide meals for vulnerable residents in need.
In Ojai it is called the Ojai Restaurant Collective, HELP of Ojai Executive Director Terri Wolfe said. The 13 participating local restaurants are Ojai Rotie, Ojai Food Harmonics, Papa Lennon’s, Osteria Monte Grappa, Ojai Beverage Company, Sea Fresh, The Vine, Ojai Cafe Emporium, Jim and Rob’s, Azu, La Fuente, Ca Marco, and Ojai Harvest Moon.
The program will provide 6,000 meals to about 200 people between now and May 10. That is the current end date of the program, but it may be extended past that, Wolfe said. 
The program lends itself well to Ojai for two reasons. Wolfe said: “They have to make every attempt to use local ingredients, and that works well for us because most all of our restaurants already have that as a general operating procedure. So they were able to kind of easily adapt to the program. The other emphasis in the program was that they be small, independently owned, not chain restaurants. So again, that’s why it lends itself well to Ojai.”

 

The 200 people were already receiving meals through HELP of Ojai and are now being transitioned to the restaurant delivery. Other people who found out about the program have been added to the delivery list, Wolfe said. “We anticipate that the program is going to grow over even the next 10 days,” Wolfe said. “So they’re either currently already on our program or as soon as they found out about this program, they contacted VCAAA and then all those names came to us also.”
All 13 restaurants have different days they make the meals so that people do not have to eat the same meals every day. HELP of Ojai staff and volunteers go to the restaurants, pick up and deliver the food. 
To qualify, recipients must affirm they cannot prepare their own meals or have difficulty getting meals. People who get Cal-Fresh do not qualify. 
Those interested in the program can contact VCAAA at 805-477-7300 or fill out an application on www.VCAAA.org/food.

 

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