Janice Lamm prepares a meal at her dwelling in West Jordan on Feb. 9. Lamm used Chefpanzee meals supply service throughout early COVID-19. West Jordan used federal pandemic aid cash to create a meals program, which is open to anybody over
the age of 65 residing inside the metropolis boundaries. (Jeffrey D.
Allred, Deseret Information)
Estimated learn time: 5-6 minutes
WEST JORDAN — West Jordan’s senior meal supply service got here on the proper time for Janice Lamm.
“Grandmas are anticipated to make sure issues,” Lamm stated. “Thanksgiving? Shrimp salad. Christmas? Cookies and cookies and cookies and cookies.”
This system was meant to be short-term, and Lamm was dismayed when it formally led to January.
However now, the town is making ready to restart what program supervisor Lisa Elgin described as a “wildly profitable” initiative. This system was a win-win-win for seniors who wanted meals, companies that wanted prospects, and an area supply service that wished to assist the group.
“The individuals right here have actually appreciated it, particularly a number of the individuals that cash is tighter for them than it’s for me, and mine’s so tight I’ve to chop my pennies in half to get 2 cents price,” Lamm stated.
Coronavirus Assist, Reduction, and Financial Safety Act cash funds this system, which gives meals from space eating places to West Jordan residents over 65. Choice goes to these in low- to moderate-income classes.
“Now we have some funding — it is only a matter of shifting it round and with the ability to use it,” Elgin stated. “It is just a bit bit difficult.”
Elgin says seniors will not see loads of variations in how this system runs or who qualifies, as a lot of the adjustments have been inner.
“About by the center (of the primary spherical), we had all of the kinks labored out and it was operating actually easily,” Elgin stated.
Working easily appeared like roughly 6,500 meals being delivered to 99 seniors by the top of the 18-week program. Of these contributors, 81 fell into the very low-income class, and 40 have been individuals with disabilities.
Seniors weren’t the one group to learn, although — a lot of the meals have been supplied by native West Jordan eating places, which is the place this system’s identify, the Restaurant Help Grant, comes from.
“We had two objectives in thoughts,” stated West Jordan senior administration analyst Jeremy Olsen. “One was clearly to supply meal deliveries to seniors so they would not must go to a retailer or to a restaurant, however the different one was to assist a number of the eating places that had misplaced enterprise in the course of the lockdown durations.”
This system is not at present accepting functions, however Elgin is hopeful to get this system operating once more in about two months. Participation will nonetheless solely require proof of residency and a accomplished software from the town’s web site. After completion, seniors select the meals they’d prefer to obtain.
Eating places apply to this system, create a menu and select find out how to ship the meals. Then, after receiving $24,900 of West Jordan’s federal pandemic aid funds, the eating places get to work feeding individuals. After they run out of funds, normally anyplace between six to 9 weeks, the eating places can reapply.
Previous eating places on the record have included Dairy Queen — a favourite of resident Lamm — Spudtoddos, Vegan Bowl and Sofia’s Doner Kebab Categorical.
“We’re very excited that this program got here and it was created. I believe that this system is superb,” Sofia’s Doner Kebab Categorical proprietor Nailya Ragimova stated. “I hope that this may proceed.”
Persevering with to be part of the group is probably the most rewarding half for Ragimova. The meal supply program, together with different authorities help, helped her Turkish restaurant stay a West Jordan fixture. Now, Sofia’s Doner Kebab Categorical shall be returning to this system.
Beginning the senior meal program proved to be a problem. Between staffing shortages that restricted the variety of eating places that utilized and with fewer seniors taking part than Elgin had hoped, Elgin stated this system principally took over her life.
The largest delay was find an acceptable supply service. Elgin initially tried Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash to no avail.
Fortunately, a brand new choice introduced itself: a supply service referred to as Chefpanzee that solely delivers meals from native Utah companies. For co-founder Indu Sudhakar, taking part within the senior meal program is a approach to maintain true to Chefpanzee’s dedication to supporting Utah eating places.
“We have seen this loads with the key supply companies the place there’s hesitation if the financial worth is there,” Sudhakar stated. “It makes me really feel completely happy that we’re holding true to that a part of our enterprise and with the ability to be part of alternatives like this.”
Sudhakar stated that Chefpanzee remains to be within the development section of the enterprise, however a precedence is charging a low fee price from eating places; whereas the everyday fee price for bigger supply companies falls between 30% and 40%, Chefpanzee costs 10%.
“I believe we have been fortunate to search out them once we did on the time,” finance liaison Olsen stated. “As soon as they have been capable of work one thing out with the eating places, then it lastly turned a possible program.”
Sudhakar stated Utah’s tradition of supporting native companies was a “nice shock” and that she’d like to see one thing related develop to different cities.
“I believe, actually, it is a product of residing in Utah,” she stated. “It is simply the friendliness.”
Elgin stated that Chefpanzee shall be returning to this system to proceed delivering. In the meantime, after Elgin recovers from COVID-19, she’s hoping to “get proper again up on” this system’s restart.
“Planners do not usually get loads of alternative to really feel actually good about what they’re doing,” Elgin stated. “This was an incredible alternative. I beloved really getting on the market.”