New Delivering with Dignity Program Brings Meals to At-Risk OC Residents

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A unique private-public partnership comprising local funders, private donors, nonprofit organizations, independent restaurant owners, and volunteer drivers today launched Delivering with Dignity, a program set to bring up to 5,000 high-quality prepared meals per week directly to the most vulnerable people in Orange County. The launch took place in Costa Mesa at Toast Kitchen & Bakery.

The Delivering With Dignity service is intended for county residents struggling with poverty on a daily basis who are most at risk according to U.S. Center for Disease Control guidelines for contracting COVID-19 when they leave their homes, including the elderly, those with underlying medical conditions and their family members living in the same household.

Organizers say potentially thousands of local residents could fall within those guidelines who are not served by other prepared food programs and community resources like Meals on Wheels, are homebound due to COVID-19 susceptibility and have no reliable prepared food support system.

The program is completely funded through donations from Sun Family Foundation, Sisters of St Joseph Health Care Foundation, Anaheim Community Foundation, Wells Fargo, St. Jude Medical Center, Mission Hospital, OC Community Resilience Fund, and others that have collectively raised more than $200,000 to underwrite the effort. Volunteer deliveries are organized by OneOC and the Dragon Kim Foundation. The Moonridge Foundation launched the original program in Las Vegas in March, alongside Copia, a technology company that intelligently redistributes highly perishable excess food from businesses and restaurants directly to nonprofits and communities most in need.

The list of nonprofits helping to identify recipients of the prepared meals includes 2-1-1 Orange County, Access California Services, Jamboree Housing, Regional Center of Orange County, Project Hope Alliance, and Illumination Foundation.

Meal providers also include Taco Rosa, Taco Mesa, WaSa Sushi & Teppan, Saltwater Catering, Roma D’Italia, and others. Copia’s platform powers the logistics and food matching algorithm, efficiently optimizing meal delivery to those most vulnerable families.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the goal of our program is to ensure that the most vulnerable county residents have access to delicious prepared meals, delivered safely to their doorsteps by volunteers,” said Daniel Kim, chair of the committee that founded the initiative. “We recognize the need to also preserve the jobs of the restaurant staff and restart the food supply chain. This is an example of public and private members of our community coming together to take care of each other.”

Other committee members Jack Toan, Vice President, Community Relations at Wells Fargo; Valerie Fryer of Miles Away Consulting; Karen Williams, President & CEO of 211 Orange County; Bronnie Lee, owner of Wasa Sushi & Teppan; and Dan Pittman of Dan Pittman & Associates.

“We are delighted to expand the service to Orange County,” said Punam Mathur, Executive Director of the Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation of Las Vegas, who oversaw the program launch at the direction of Clark County, Nevada Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick and community partners. She said the program is also up and running in Reno, Nevada.

To learn about qualifying for meals in Orange County call 2-1-1, visit 211OC.org or text your zip code to 898211.  Prospective volunteers can contact https://volunteers.oneoc.org/opportunity/a0x2I00001Rkmi9QAB

Prospective restaurants can contact Bronnie Lee at [email protected]

For more information and to donate to the program, visit https://www.deliveringwithdignityoc.org

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