New Orleans rolls out COVID-19 meal assistance program

Aiming to alleviate two problems with one program, the city of New Orleans is launching a food assistance program that will help locals experiencing food insecurity by buying it from local restaurants.

"We know that because of COVID-19, many of our residents are unable to put food on their tables," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "Local non-profit organizations have stood up in unprecedented ways to provide our people with food these last few months, and I am so grateful to them. But the need continues. That’s why we’ve partnered with FEMA and Revolution Foods to build this first-of-its-kind emergency meal program, which will help fill that gap."

The program will provide two meals a day to qualifying residents for at least 30 days. More than 100 local restaurants will be providing the food, in conjunction with the nonprofit Chef's Brigade. Restaurants that would like to join in this effort should use the form found here on the Chef’s Brigade website.

"Chef’s Brigade is a now proven concept and system that is a true disaster-response food machine," said Chef’s Brigade founder and Executive Director Troy Gilbert. "We've built a nimble, scalable and powerful mechanism to produce enormous quantities of nutritious New Orleans comfort foods for those in need, while providing an emergency financial lifeline to many in our beloved and culturally important restaurant industry, whether that's restaurants, purveyors or independent chefs"

To avoid duplication of benefits, people who are already receiving some form of food assistance, such as SNAP, Meals on Wheel, the NOLA Public Schools Meal Program, or state-sponsored homeless hotel services, may not be eligible for this. Applicants for the aid can dial 311, click here for nola311.org, or call (504) 658-2299. The program serves:

  •     Seniors age 65 and above
  •     Adults with high-risk health conditions and special medical needs
  •     Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed and require isolation or quarantine
  •     Homeless residents
  •     Children under age 18