Save La Comida-Palo Alto's Senior Nutrition Program
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Date: June 1, 2017
TO: Honorable Mayor Greg Scharff and City Council Members
On August 30th, La Comida will be without a place to operate and will not be able to serve seniors their low income nutritious lunches which many have come to rely on to be available to them. La Comida, since its inception in 1972, has offered inexpensive nutritious lunches to seniors, 5-days a week, Mondays to Fridays, except holidays.
Some data you should know:
§ Palo Alto La Comida has approximately 160 diners per day.
§ Palo Alto La Comida has the largest number of diners in Santa Clara County.
§ The County’s Senior Nutrition Program is located in many cities surrounding Palo Alto and it would be shameful not to have a program here in Palo Alto.
§ 26 out of 35 senior nutrition sites in Santa Clara County are in City facilities.
§ 42% of diners identify themselves as low income.
§ 30% live alone.
§ 91% are over 65 years old.
§ 31% are over 80 years old.
§ 46%, this is their primary meal.
§ 30% + use bus transportation.
La Comida currently operates at 450 Bryant Street in Downtown Palo Alto, in the Senior Center, now called Avenidas. The building at 450 Bryant Street is a City-owned historical building and the City rents the building to Avenidas at a significantly reduced rent of $1.00 per year. La Comida sub-leases the kitchen and the dining room from Avenidas. The commercial kitchen was outfitted by Santa Clara County and Federal funds. The dining room addition was constructed and furnished expressly for the La Comida lunch program using funds raised by Rotary of Palo Alto.
Avenidas will be starting its renovation and expansion project on September 1. At such time, La Comida will have to vacate the premises. La Comida has been desperately searching for a venue near public transportation with a commercial kitchen and a generous dining room to continue its operations after September 1. Although a likely short term, albeit small, location away from the downtown has been identified, no downtown location of adequate size has been identified for either the short or long term. Ideally, La Comida would return to downtown Palo Alto, co-located or close to Avenidas, after its renovation and expansion, to keep the Senior Nutrition Program in close proximity to other senior services. La Comida is more than getting a meal for many of the patrons. It offers a place for many seniors to meet friends and it is a purpose for many seniors to keep moving around as they help and volunteer at La Comida. Most volunteers are seniors themselves. We are imploring the Palo Alto City Council and the community to help La Comida continue its mission for both the short and long term.
The undersigned respectfullly request that La Comida continue its operation of low income nutritious lunches for seniors within 450 Bryant Street as a permanent partner with Avenidas in delivering a vital part of a program and service for seniors.
The undersigned respectfully request the City Council to assist in re-visiting the building plans of 450 Bryant Street to ensure the kitchen and dining area for La Comida can be of a generous and appropriate size to continue to be a spacious, cheerful and socially attractive dining room which can also accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.
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