Photo courtesy: Little Tokyo Service Center

Little Tokyo Eats is a food delivery program developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its severe impact on Little Tokyo’s older adult residents and family-owned restaurants. The program delivers a fresh, warm meal prepared by the local restaurants to older adults.

With the Safer at Home order issued in mid-March of 2020, the community’s older adults were placed in a difficult situation of having to stay home, but still needing to get essentials. The local community restaurants were also hit hard. In order to support and address the immediate needs of both of these vulnerable groups, this program was created in partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC), Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC), and Keiro.

Participants receiving at bento from local restaurants

Since its first delivery in early April 2020, the Little Tokyo Eats program brings together local restaurants to support older residents. The meals, from over 13 Little Tokyo restaurants, are available to participants for a subsidized cost, and prepared and delivered three times a week.

As of end of September 2020, more than 7,500 meals have been delivered to over 900 older adults. A Japanese-speaking resident of Little Tokyo Towers said, in a message included on a meal order form, “I look forward to every meal. I am so extremely grateful. Please convey my appreciation to everyone.”

As the Safer at Home order evolves, the need to keep the community safe and nourished still remains. The Little Tokyo Eats program continues to support local at-risk older adults.