On Wednesday, March 25, the City of New Orleans announced a partnership between World Central Kitchen and Hands On New Orleans to provide free meal delivery service to home-bound, low-income seniors and chronically ill residents, who are at a greater risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID-19.
“I’m so proud of our community partners and our local volunteers who have truly stepped up in a time of need,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It is absolutely critical that our seniors and chronically ill stay home right now. With this program, they will have the food they need to stay safe and healthy. I learned from my experience in the Broadmoor neighborhood after Katrina that galvanizing partners and volunteers is essential to emergency response.”
Beginning Monday, March 30, World Central Kitchen will prepare and package individual meals following USDA certification and weight requirements for seniors. Batches of refrigerated meals will be delivered to the door of those in need on Mondays and Thursdays by volunteers working with Hands On New Orleans and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.
“World Central Kitchen mobilizes with the urgency of now to get fresh meals to people when they need them most,” said World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook. “We are honored to be working with the City of New Orleans to share not just plates of food with the community — we know every New Orleanian agrees that a meal in a time of need also means hope, dignity, and a reminder that someone cares about you.”
Low-income seniors or chronically ill individuals who are experiencing food insecurity while sheltering in place during the Stay Home Mandate should call 3-1-1 or go to nola311.org/service-request to request meal delivery.
Volunteer drivers are needed to pick up and deliver multiple days’ worth of meals to the doorsteps of approved recipients throughout Orleans Parish each Monday and Thursday. Additionally, volunteer callers are needed to conduct follow-up check-ins to ensure meal recipients receive their food as scheduled, maintain good health and maintain good spirits. Callers will be able to participate from the safety and comfort of their homes.
“We know thousands of New Orleans’ seniors are struggling with food insecurity and are feeling isolated and vulnerable inside their own homes,” said Chris Cameron, United Way HandsOn Entergy Volunteer Center Executive Director. “For individuals who are healthy and able, these volunteer opportunities will satisfy the need to take action in the face of crisis and help our older neighbors who are following sound advice to stay home yet are facing serious hunger.”
Interested individuals must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Are 18 years or older (Drivers may not be older than 59)
- Have not experienced symptoms that could be related to COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Have not been around anyone who has COVID-19 in the last 14 days
- Have not traveled to a foreign country in the last 14 days
- Have not been on a cruise or been in an airport in the last 14 days
- Have not attended an event where more than 50 people were in attendance in the last 14 days
Precautions will be taken to ensure proper social distancing of volunteers, disinfection of delivery materials, and frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of germs.
“Volunteers can rest assured knowing we are following globally-recognized mobilization procedures and maintaining rigorous safety protocols to keep both volunteers and the meal recipients healthy,” Cameron added.
Volunteers can register at the Hands On website. The Volunteer Center will send further eligibility requirements and assignments via email upon registration.
Other resource providers and opportunities to support
- Second Harvest Food Bank continues their vital work of supplying meals and food for distribution to current partners and pantries in need.
- NOLA Tree Project is assisting with meal deliveries through multiple distribution sites for drive-up or delivery.
- Council on Aging is delivering meals to seniors through its Meals on Wheels Program.
- Catholic Charities is operating a disaster case management hotline to help residents struggling to access unemployment insurance and SNAP benefits.
- The Broadmoor Improvement Association is operating its food pantry twice a week as well as meal distribution for those in need.
- Gladewaves is partnering with the Broadmoor Improvement Association to distribute 100 meals a week in Broadmoor to seniors.
- The Junior League of New Orleans is partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute diapers throughout the Greater New Orleans area.
- Southeast Louisiana Legal Services continues to provides free, civil legal aid to low-income residents.
- The Pro Bono Project is also providing legal assistance or self-help for residents in need.
- Supplies for Saints is a local effort to reach out to dentist offices, tattoo parlors, high school labs, closed doctor’s offices and others to get additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care workers on the front line.
- The United Way of Southeast Louisiana, along with Entergy, and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, has launched the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund to provide crisis grants to hospitality workers affected by COVID-19.
- The Greater New Orleans Foundation is launching the Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program in partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association. This program will provide grants of up to $1,000 for service and hospitality workers whose families are experiencing financial crisis in the Greater New Orleans region.
These resources are listed at ready.nola.gov and will continue to be updated as programs grow or change.