HandsOn New Orleans
New Orleans Resiliency Initiative So Everyone’s Served
A natural disaster or public health crisis exacerbates pre-existing conditions for vulnerable residents. In Orleans Parish 53% of Orleans residents live at or below the federal level of poverty or paycheck-to-paycheck. Due to historical racial inequity and health disparities. low-income African Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID.
Born of Katrina, HandsOn has consistently responded with thousands of volunteers to help low income families in the aftermath of every state and local natural disaster since the storm. As a result of COVID, HandsOn launched the New Orleans Resiliency Initiative So Everyone’s Served (NOLA RISES) project, a coordinated, collaborative effort with local government and civic leaders, non-government organizations, foundations and corporate partners to ensure food security among the senior population and to prevent social isolation, a predeterminant for improved senior health.
The project outcomes are to ensure residents have access to food supplies and hot meals within federal nutrition guidelines and established social distancing protocols and to support the local restaurant economy. The project consists of three phases. First standing up neighborhood distribution points for walk-up/drive-by meal distribution and food pantries. Second creating a volunteer home meal delivery program. Third supporting local restaurants to become neighborhood community kitchens.
Phase 1: Hands On partnered with Crisis Clean Up, LLC to modify its software. As a result, Louisiana was the first state in the nation to have multifaceted GIS interactive data for responding nonprofits to access needs and provide services. Responders can coordinate, communicate, and collaborate using one shared database. This increases efficiency, efficacy, and eliminates redundancy for neighborhood distribution points.
Phase 2: HandsOn created three new volunteer programs. Serve Our Seniors drivers who deliver 14 meals per week directly to home bound seniors. Households are identified by 311. World Central Kitchen provides free meals. Meal packagers and runners provide curb-side service for drivers. Phone a Senior virtual volunteers provide wellness checks and socio-emotional support to their senior clients.
Phase 3: HandsOn intends to enter into a contract wherein a local restaurant agrees to continue feeding homebound seniors on a weekly basis thus creating a long-term food security solution. In exchange for providing meals at their cost, HandsOn will provide an in-kind tax deduction, allowing the restaurant to lower its tax burden while recovering from a shrinking economy. HandsOn will require meal recipients to enroll in financial literacy education. With food savings realized via free meals, residents can use the additional funds to support their goals.
NOLA RISES is creating a sustainable, resilient local ecosystem and synergistic relationship between residents, nonprofits, and corporate partners for long term recovery. Its transformational aim is to move people from vulnerability to resiliency.
From March to April 30, 2020, NOLA RISES has created a $2M impact via the value of volunteer time and meals.
- 279,653 meals provided
- 4,462 volunteers recruited
- 4,047 seniors currently served
- 1,737 household addresses in Orleans Parish
HandsOn New Orleans is an affiliate of the Points of Light Global Network, the world’s largest nonprofit volunteer center organization. HandsOn envisions an equitable and resilient community with happy, healthy prosperous people. Its mission is to engage, empower, and transform our community through volunteer service. The organization achieves its mission with 213 collaborative community partnerships and a suite of synergistic programs. HandsOn leverages its core strengths of design and execution of high-impact community revitalization projects, disaster response services, and volunteer engagement, to strengthen families and transform neighborhoods in the seven parish New Orleans metro area.