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New Orleans Launches A 30-Day Meal Assistance Program For People Affected By Coronavirus

Ben Depp

The city of New Orleans is launching a meal assistance program aimed at getting hot meals to residents struggling to get food during the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Wednesday, the program will provide two meals a day to residents who qualify. For now, it will last about one month, with the intention of providing 1.8 million meals in that time.

The program is made possible by the collaboration of multiple restaurants, nonprofits and government agencies.

The Revolution Foods and local nonprofit Chef’s Brigade will source and package meals from local restaurants, and d’livery NOLA will deliver the meals to centralized pickup locations. In some cases, meals will be delivered directly to people’s homes.

The program is being managed by the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP) and will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

NOHSEP Executive Director Collin Arnold called the initiative a “first-of-its-kind emergency feeding program that not only addresses COVID-related food insecurity, but also provides local jobs and a lifeline to our struggling restaurant industry.”

Due to federal assistance regulations, the program has fairly narrow eligibility requirements. Here are the basics:

Who is eligible?

  • People over the age of 65
  • Adults with high-risk health conditions
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are quarantining
  • People without homes
  • People under the age of 18

Who is not eligible?

  • People receiving SNAP benefits
  • People receiving Meals on Wheels
  • Students receiving free hot meals through NOLA Public Schools

How can I apply?

Officials recommend that New Orleans residents call 311 to determine their eligibility and apply for the program.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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