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$18 Million Program Launching in New Orleans Will Hire Restaurants to Feed Residents

Dubbed the COVID-19 Mass Feeding Initiative, the program will partner with restaurants to feed 30,000 residents

A city program to feed New Orleans’s food insecure with partner with local restaurants

The City of New Orleans has announced an $18 million initiative to feed more than 30,000 residents this summer, a program that will employ local restaurants to prepare and deliver up to 60,000 meals per week. Restaurants, kitchens, and caterers have until June 10 to apply to be a vendor with the program, dubbed the COVID-19 Mass Feeding Initiative.

It’s the result of a request made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) back in April, when the city realized it was in a “vulnerable position” due to the COVID-19 crisis, according to WWNO. In April, New Orleans’s unemployment rate was recorded as 18.8 percent.

New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell called it “one of the most comprehensive mass feeding programs in the United States of America, the first of its kind.” 1.8 million meals are to be distributed in the first month, with the program extended on a week-by-week basis thereafter. FEMA is covering 75 percent of the cost of the meals, and the city will pay for the remaining 25 percent.

The service is intended for food insecure residents “including, but not limited to seniors, homebound adults, special needs individuals, the homeless and families with children under the age of 18.”

Restaurants and vendors have until June 10 to respond to the city’s request for proposals with an online application. The city plans to select vendors by June 14 and roll out the program soon after.

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