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Hillsborough County delivers free meals to seniors during COVID-19 pandemic

The "Silver Platter" program provides meals
Posted at 7:57 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 23:23:53-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Hillsborough County's Department of Aging Services partnered with local restaurants and food trucks to deliver free meals to seniors.

The county's "Silver Platter" program provides hot meals to seniors at their home about twice a week.

Sharon Kern receives a hot meal. She says the program is a huge help since she does not drive.

"I don't have to worry about going to the store so it really makes a big difference for me," said Kern.

"It's really a wonderful service," she added.

The program also helps seniors who are staying at home to avoid any potential exposure to COVID-19.

Michael Blasco with Tampa Bay Food Trucks said he handles the logistics of the program. He tells drivers where to deliver the food.

"This is the most fulfilling catering we've done. I've personally delivered meals. When you open the door and they know it's you and you have a hot fresh meal, they're delighted," said Blasco.

On Monday, drivers delivered food to seniors in Ruskin, Gibsonton, Wimauma and Riverview.

Blasco said the program also benefits the food truck industry. The industry lost revenue during the pandemic after events were canceled.

"The issue is we can't go to group events anymore and all of our corporate clients that we use to go to and serve in their office...their buildings have no one in the offices," said Blasco.

"This program has put food truck workers back to work. It's also helped hospitality workers that have been impacted because they're our drivers," he added.

The "Silver Platter" program is free for local seniors who are at risk and enrolled in Hillsborough County's Department of Aging Services home-delivered meals program.

Nearly 450 seniors are enrolled in the program.

The program is funded through state and federal funds including the Families First Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.