The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement on June 16 with Community Action Partnership of Kern for $2 million to enhance local safety net services by delivering basic food boxes to citizens vulnerable to infection by the COVID-19 virus.

Through this proposal, the CAPK Food Bank will operate a program to deliver meals to individuals 65 years or older, similar to the California Great Plates Delivered Program, and add up to two distribution sites in areas not currently being served by the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (also known as the Senior Food Program). Other individuals with serious health conditions younger than 65 may also be eligible to receive food through this program.

According to state recommendations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this population of older adults and people who have severe underlying condition seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. The intent of the food delivery service is to ensure the identified population remain homebound and limit the possibility of exposure. Individuals enrolling in the program will undergo a short screening process through CAPK’s 2-1-1 Call Center Program.

Individual participant eligibility verification will be completed over the phone and can be obtained through self-attestation. Once deemed eligible, the individual will provide necessary operational information, such as address, and will be transferred to the program assistant to schedule routes and delivery time.

This will be a countywide program for all qualified individuals on a first come basis, and individuals can opt-out at any time. Delivery of food will be handled with care and precaution where the staff member and clients are safe and have limited to no personal contact. Additionally, staff will contact the individual prior to the delivery to confirm drop-off, and follow-up to ensure satisfaction and welfare of the participant.

On a monthly basis, participating individuals will be provided with 70-pounds of non-perishable, shelve stable foods and protein that are designated as meat alternatives, such as beans, peanut butter, tuna, milk, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, pasta, etc. On average two pounds of food equals one meal per person and with the 70 pounds of food, the program will include cleaning household supplies (disinfectants, paper towels, bleach), personal protective equipment/supplies (gloves, masks, sanitizer) and personal hygiene items.

When inventory is available, the food boxes will be supplemented with fresh produce, such as lettuce, seasonal fruit and vegetables above the base of the 70-pounds of food.

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