Great Plates Program

Delivery Man With Great Plates Program Helps Save Woman's Life

“I ask the neighbors, 'Is everything ok?' One of the neighbors tells me Mayra fell on the ground. I said, 'Is she ok?' They said, 'We don't know because of the dogs,'” Toma said

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In a collaboration between the county and local restaurants, qualified senior citizens can sign up to get free meals delivered to their homes through the "Great Plates Delivered" program. The program is making sure people stay fed, but it may have also saved one Chula Vista woman's life.

Mayra Pereira fell in her home and she couldn't get help for nearly 18 hours. That's when a food delivery driver, became her hero.

Alex Toma used to be an Uber driver but at the beginning of the pandemic, he switched things up and started delivering meals for Carnival Supermarket in Chula Vista.

The store is part of the Great Plates Delivered program. In September, Pereira fell in her home and couldn't get up, she couldn't reach her phone and no one could hear her yelling for help.

“I was praying to god. I didn’t want to die. That’s what I kept thinking. If nobody helps me, I kept thinking all kinds of weird things,” she said.

That was when Toma showed up to deliver Pereira her food.

“I ask the neighbors, 'Is everything ok?' One of the neighbors tells me Mayra fell on the ground. I said, 'Is she ok?' They said, 'We don't know because of the dogs,'” Toma said.

Toma used a bone to distract the dogs and eventually figured out how to get into Pereira's home.

"When I heard my food coming, I screamed, 'Alex help!' and he was right there," she said.

"When I saw her on the floor it kinda got to me because when I was younger I used to always help my grandma get up because she had Alzheimer's," Toma said.

"It was a blessing though, I think he saved my life cause what if no one came," Pereira said.

Pereira said she'll never forget how Great Plates helped her, and how Alex Toma was there to serve her in her time of need.

Carnival Market in Chula Vista serves 140 people daily as part of the program. More than 2,000 people are receiving meals around the county.

For more information and how you can apply, click here.

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