2,400 Hot Meals and 50,000 Pounds of Groceries Distributed by Ochsner and Second Harvest Ahead of Thanksgiving
NEW ORLEANS – As Thanksgiving approaches, Ochsner Health and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana are helping residents of southeast Louisiana access nutritious food and a little joy this holiday season. The two organizations joined forces over several days last week to hand out Thanksgiving-style hot meals, shelf-stable and fresh groceries, and small holiday gifts to families in several regions severely impacted by Hurricane Ida.
The week prior to Thanksgiving, volunteers visited Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. John, St. Charles, Plaquemines and Jefferson parishes. Over three days, 2,400 hot meals of turkey, side dishes, vegetables and fruit cobblers were distributed at local community sites in these parishes that are still actively recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Ida and COVID-19. Volunteers also handed out about 50,000 pounds of groceries, including ready-to-eat meals, canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and pies. Families with young children received small, holiday-themed teddy bears.
“We care deeply about the communities we serve, and we know that our neighbors throughout southeast Louisiana are still affected by the catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida,” said Warner Thomas, President and CEO of Ochsner Health. “We are committed to rolling up our sleeves through community service and eliminating barriers that impact the wellbeing and stability of all residents, which is why we were honored to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank for this important series of events.”
Ochsner and Second Harvest Food Bank know hunger and food security continue to be major issues in south Louisiana, and that those problems have only been exacerbated by recent events. Both organizations remain focused on using every resource available to give back, increase access to groceries and other household supplies and help make Louisiana healthier.
Second Harvest President & CEO Natalie Jayroe spoke about the long-term impact this partnership has had upon the food bank’s mission. “Ochsner’s amazing support has helped us feed so many hungry people across South Louisiana for many years. We’re so thankful for their continued engagement with our community’s needs on so many levels.”
During six distribution shifts, 107 Ochsner employees staffed the events, spending more than 280 hours of service handing out food donated by the hospital system. The Thanksgiving meal and grocery giveaway is one of many ways Ochsner has engaged in volunteer work and disaster response since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and following Hurricane Ida. Ochsner has also made the COVID-19 vaccine convenient and accessible to all the communities it serves and has offered onsite urgent care needs via the system’s mobile unit, which was deployed in hard-hit areas like the Bayou region and New Orleans East. These efforts are part of Ochsner’s commitment to increase access to health and make Louisiana a more equitable place for all residents.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Ochsner Health is a not-for-profit committed to giving back to the communities it serves through preventative screenings, health and wellness resources and partnerships with innovative organizations that share our vision. Ochsner Health healed more than 900,000 people from across the globe in 2020, providing the latest medical breakthroughs and therapies, including digital medicine for chronic conditions and telehealth specialty services. Ochsner Health is a national leader, named both the top hospital and the top children’s hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. As Louisiana’s leading healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. Ochsner Health is innovating healthcare by investing in new technologies and research to make world-class care more accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner's team of more than 32,000 employees and 4,500 providers are working to reinvent the future of health and wellness in the region. To learn more about Ochsner Health, please visit www.ochsner.org. To transform your health, please visit www.ochsner.org/healthyyou.
About Second Harvest Food Bank:
Second Harvest Food Bank is an affiliated ministry of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, a member of Feeding America, and a United Way Partner Agency. Second Harvest leads the fight against hunger and building food security in South Louisiana by providing food access, advocacy, education and disaster response. Second Harvest provides food to more than 500 partners and programs across 23 parishes, from the Mississippi border to the Texas state line. Together, we make up the largest charitable anti-hunger network in the state. With our community’s help, we can make food security a reality for every household in South Louisiana.
Since the start of the coronavirus emergency in March, Second Harvest has distributed more than 65 million pounds of food and supplies to residents across twenty-three parishes of South Louisiana. This is more than double what the food bank delivered during the same period a year ago. Second Harvest staff, volunteers, and community partners have also distributed more than 18 million pounds of supplies to recent hurricane survivors in Southwest Louisiana.
To join us in the fight to end hunger by volunteering or donating, please visit www.no-hunger.org.