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Cooking For Thousands of Coronavirus Shut-ins

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Not every homebound person over 65 or other coronavirus shut-ins have someone to shop for them, and many cannot afford to have groceries or prepared meals delivered.

One possibility to fill the gap: companies that feed firefighters during disasters.

Firefighter field kitchens are built to set up quickly in remote areas. They serve thousands of meals three times a day, and have supply chains in place to keep going for weeks. All they need is enough space to park a mobile kitchen hauled in by a semi-truck.

“Anywhere where we can put our semis, we can set up,” said Bryan Scofield.

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His company, Scofield Catering and Management Inc., of Ventura, routinely dishes up hefty meals for hard working firefighters who need upwards of 6,000 calories a day.

Scofield's company’s mobile kitchens have also been called on to provide normal-sized meals for disaster evacuees.

He's president of the National Mobile Shower and Catering Association, whose member companies are now in talks with local governments to help feed seniors, schoolkids and other coronavirus shut-ins in California and beyond. Scofield declined to say which agencies had contacted the association or its members.

Those companies are all qualified to receive U.S. Forest Service food service contracts. And collectively, they can produce one million meals a day. But they don’t deliver, so nonprofits or governments would have to fill that gap, possibly with two deliveries a day.

“Your breakfast is going to be more like a continental breakfast and then a sack lunch,” Scofield said. Most likely, they would provide a combined breakfast and lunch in one delivery, and a hot or heatable dinner in the afternoon.

Los Angeles city and county officials have said that seniors who are getting daily meals from local senior centers will be able to continue to get them on a grab-and-go basis.

But the need to provide meals for seniors and others could grow.

Scofield cautions that Southern California agencies might soon be competing with other parts of the country for mass feeding services, so he says the sooner they move to secure a contract, the better.

Once President Trump declared a national emergency, that freed up federal money that counties and cities can use, Scofield said.


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