Meals on Wheels breaking ground on new kitchen in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Meals on Wheels food program is an important part of so many peoples' lives in San Francisco. On Thursday morning, the organization broke ground on a new industrial kitchen in the Bayview.

Meals on Wheels serves 8,000 meals a day in San Francisco. This new kitchen will allow them to produce up to 20,000 meals a day.

Mayor London Breed attended the groundbreaking.

Here is a statistic that we don't often talk about -- there are more than 135,000 seniors, people age 65 and older, living in San Francisco. More than 60 percent of them don't have enough money to buy food.

So a program like Meals on Wheels really serves an important role in the city.

Right now, it's just dirt. But when it's completed, it will be a state-of-the-art industrial kitchen that will include cooking areas, huge freezers and a big production area.

There will also be other interesting features. The kitchen is next door to the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market. So they will be able to use some of that excess food in their menus. They will also prepare specialized meals to meet individuals' needs, such as people who are diabetic or who require soft food for digestion.

The people with Meals on Wheels say a lot of attention is given to the city's homeless program. But they say homebound seniors are another hidden poverty, many who survive on about $900 a month and for whom Meals on Wheels can be a matter of survival.

"Organizations like Meals on Wheels need to be here to make sure that people can age in place," says Meals on Wheels San Francisco's Ashley McCumber. The reality is, if we don't help them stay where they want to be in their homes, we're going to pay for them in institutions and in hospital beds and in skilled nursing beds. So why not do the right thing and the smart thing?"

Last year, Meals on Wheels delivered over 2 million meals to people in need. They expect that number to continue to grow. As for the kitchen, it's scheduled to open next summer.
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