New Orleans announces $ 18 million food program that will work with local restaurants

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - AUGUST 23: Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, downtown New Orleans on August 23, 2015.

The City of New Orleans launched a $18 million plan to feed more than 30,000 people this summer, a program that will hire local restaurants to prepare and serve up to 60,000 meals a week. Restaurants, kitchens and catering establishments have until June 10 to apply to become a program vendor, referred to as the COVID-19 Mass Feeding Initiative.

It is the result of a request made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) back in April, when the city realized that it was in a “vulnerable position” because of the COVID-19 crisis. The unemployment rate in New Orleans in April was 18.8%. 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 being extended week by week thereafter, reported WWMO. FEMA pays 75% of the expense of food and the city must fund the remaining 25%. The program is designed for food-insecurity communities ‘includes, but not limited to, the disabled, home-bound parents, special needs of people, the homeless and families of children under the age of 18.’ Restaurants and vendors have until 10 June to respond to the City’s online call for proposals. The city plans to select vendors by June 14 and to roll out the program shortly thereafter.