Escondido, CA

CCAE’s kitchen still in operation, while remainder closed

Some lunches prepared by the kitchen staff of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, waiting for delivery to the city’s senior citizens.

The California Center for the Arts, Escondido’s kitchen is still in operation while the rest of the Center’s campus remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chef Eric Ibarra is busy putting together over 100 boxed lunches per day during the week for seniors in the local community. Monday-Friday the lunches are picked up at 10:30 a.m. and delivered to those seniors in need. From preparation to delivery, the staff at the Center is taking extra safety and health precautions during this trying time.

Chef Eric in partnership with the City of Escondido is providing a variety of cold lunches in keeping with the California Title III-C menu planning guidelines. Charli Brand the Nutritionist-Senior Nutrition Program for the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency has been assisting Chef Eric with creating menus.

Currently registered participants of the City’s Senior Nutrition Program are eligible for home-delivered or grab and go cold boxed lunches.  Seniors 60 and older not currently participating in the Program can call 760-839-4803 to be added to the waitlist. Please leave your name, address, and age on the voicemail.  Eligible seniors must live within the Escondido City limits and complete participation forms.

Additionally, qualifying seniors may participate in the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank distribution events which occur at the Park Avenue Community Center on the fourth Monday of each month.  For more information call 1-866-350-FOOD (3663) or visit

“One of the City’s most critical services is the Senior Nutrition Program that provides meals to hundreds of seniors in our community Monday – Friday year-round. Normally these meals are served in congregate at the Park Avenue Community Center, but in response to the County’s public health orders, we had to quickly find an alternative food provider and make changes to the program to accommodate delivery of meals. The CCAE was the first organization that came to mind because of their capacity to produce the food and their need for revenue at a time when their events and operations have been so greatly impacted. Within the course of 48 hours, we worked out an agreement and there was no gap in service to our Seniors. This is a win-win solution for all of us,” Joanna Axelrod, director of communications and community services told The Times-Advocate.

Jerry VanLeeuwen, executive director for the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, commented, “We are grateful to the City for the opportunity to serve the community in this way. It is beneficial to the Center because it brings in revenue when revenues have almost disappeared entirely. More importantly, engaging our campus to serve our local residents at this difficult time is a privilege for the Center’s Board, staff and volunteers.”-

Robert Rhoades the Community Services Manager for the City of Escondido, added,  “Thank you very much for your diligence. I would reiterate that our seniors are truly enjoying the meals and we absolutely appreciate your ability to provide them for us.”

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