Everyday Meals

New Orleans Restaurants And FEMA Are Teaming Up to Help Citizens Affected by Covid-19

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The people of New Orleans know a thing or two about resilience during a moment of crisis—with or without government help. While the Covid-19 crisis is a fundamentally different challenge than Hurricane Katrina, the job losses and economic hardship it’s inflicted (not to mention its toll on public health) have left many of the Big Easy’s most vulnerable citizens in a tough spot.

While longtime New Orleans natives probably have some choice words for the Federal Emergency Management Agency over its handling of the city’s last major crisis, this time around it seems like the organization’s funding could play a more positive role. Last week, New Orleans’ Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that the city secured $18 million from FEMA to fund a widespread emergency meals program for residents impacted by Covid-19.

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Set to be funded 75 percent by FEMA and 25 percent by New Orleans, the program will distribute approximately 1.8 million meals for at least one month. Specifically, the efforts will provide assistance to at least 30,000 New Orleans residents who don’t have access to other forms of federal assistance like SNAP benefits—a program that could face further cuts in the fiscal year 2021 federal budget. Given the impact of the pandemic on such a tourism-driven city, there are certainly that many people who could use the help.

With that in mind, the program and its $18 million in FEMA funding will also help New Orleans’ struggling restaurants get back on their feet. Local restaurants can propose to participate in the program by signing up on the city’s website by 12:00 PM (CT) on June 10. One or more vendors will be chosen by June 14. The criteria for selection will use a 50-point grading system, and “experience with and a demonstrated ability to deliver similar projects on time and within budget” will constitute half of the scoring.

While parts of the country are currently on track to reopen, there’s still a long way to go before businesses and individuals are truly back on their feet again. Hopefully FEMA and other arms of the federal government can step up through efforts like this after a conspicuous lack of coordinated effort in the early days of the pandemic.

 

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