How a Utah city fed senior citizens and helped restaurants with pandemic relief money


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 reduction cash to create a meals program, which is open to anybody over
the age of 65 residing throughout the metropolis boundaries. (Jeffrey D.
Allred, Deseret Information)

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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, 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 a neighborhood supply service that wished to assist the neighborhood.

“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 Support, Aid, 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 transferring it round and having the ability to use it,” Elgin stated. “It is just a bit bit difficult.”

Elgin says seniors will not see numerous variations in how this system runs or who qualifies, as many of the modifications have been inside.

“About by the center (of the primary spherical), we had all of the kinks labored out and it was working actually easily,” Elgin stated.

Janice Lamm prepares food for a meal at her home in
West Jordan on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. Lamm used Chefpanzee food
delivery service during early COVID-19. West Jordan used federal
pandemic relief money to create the program, which is open to
anyone over the age of 65 residing within the city boundaries, with
preference going to those in low- to moderate-income
categories.
Janice Lamm prepares meals for a meal at her dwelling in
West Jordan on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. Lamm used Chefpanzee meals
supply service throughout early COVID-19. West Jordan used federal
pandemic reduction cash to create this system, which is open to
anybody over the age of 65 residing throughout the metropolis boundaries, with
desire going to these in low- to moderate-income
classes. (Picture: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Information)

Operating easily appeared like roughly 6,500 meals being delivered to 99 seniors by the tip of the 18-week program. Of these members, 81 fell into the very low-income class, and 40 have been individuals with disabilities.

Seniors weren’t the one group to profit, although — many of the meals have been supplied by native West Jordan eating places, which is the place this system’s title, the Restaurant Help Grant, comes from.

“We had two targets 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 intervals.”

This system is not at present accepting purposes, however Elgin is hopeful to get this system working once more in about two months. Participation will nonetheless solely require proof of residency and a accomplished software from town’s web site. After completion, seniors select the meals they’d wish 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 reduction 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.

Azer Imranov, co-owner and operator of Sofia’s Doner
Kebab Express, carves chicken at the restaurant in West Jordan on
Thursday.
Azer Imranov, co-owner and operator of Sofia’s Doner
Kebab Categorical, carves rooster on the restaurant in West Jordan on
Thursday. (Picture: Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

“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 neighborhood is essentially 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 can 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 mainly took over her life.

The largest delay was to find an acceptable supply service. Elgin initially tried Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash to no avail.

Fortunately, a brand new possibility offered 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 method to maintain true to Chefpanzee’s dedication to supporting Utah eating places.

“We have seen this loads with the most important supply companies the place there’s hesitation if the financial worth is there,” Sudhakar stated. “It makes me really feel blissful that we’re holding true to that a part of our enterprise and having the ability to be part of alternatives like this.”

Sudhakar stated that Chefpanzee remains to be within the progress part of the enterprise, however a precedence is charging a low fee price from eating places; whereas the standard fee price for bigger supply companies falls between 30% and 40%, Chefpanzee costs 10%.

“I believe we have been fortunate to search out them after we did on the time,” finance liaison Olsen stated. “As soon as they have been in a position to work one thing out with the eating places, then it lastly grew to become 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, truthfully, it is a product of dwelling in Utah,” she stated. “It is simply the friendliness.”

Elgin stated that Chefpanzee can 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 numerous alternative to really feel actually good about what they’re doing,” Elgin stated. “This was an incredible alternative. I liked really getting on the market.”

Nailya Ragimova, co-owner and operator of Doner Kebab
Express, prepares a Sofia’s Doner Kebab full-size meal with the
beef lamb option at the restaurant in West Jordan on Thursday.
Nailya Ragimova, co-owner and operator of Doner Kebab
Categorical, prepares a Sofia’s Doner Kebab full-size meal with the
beef lamb possibility on the restaurant in West Jordan on Thursday. (Picture: Kristin Murphy, Deseret Information)

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