New Orleans Food Security Task Force
Building Infrastructure to Feed Thousands During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down many of the City of New Orleans traditional centers of food distribution, like schools. Grassroots organizations initially spearheaded a campaign to ensure food insecure individuals had access to consistent meals; however, as the pandemic progressed and food insecurity increased, there was a need for a more integrated, sustainable, and long-term solution for meal pick-up and delivery. Especially while restaurants and restaurant workers were simultaneously being forced to close.
Questions the city faced included:
- How do people who need food get access to it?
- How do we track the volume and locations of high food insecurity in order to meet the need?
- How do we integrate the grassroots system with our existing restaurant and school feeding systems? In other words, how can we bridge the gap between the suffering restaurant industry, the overall feeding solution, and supporting essential workers?
The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) hired Trepwise in mid-April 2020 to provide technical assistance to the City of New Orleans’ Food Security Task Force, which included GNOF, the City, restaurateurs, volunteers, mutual aid groups, and other community organizations.
Foundation & Public Sector
We planned weekly Food Security Task Force meetings, helped design the survey to gather important food supply and demand data, and conducted a food need gap analysis. Additionally, we helped design prototypes for the public-facing map of food assistance locations, the citywide dashboard of food distribution, and the food delivery request case management solution. Lastly, we supported the development of the RFP for the City of New Orleans’ Long-Term Feeding Program.
As a result of this process, we led the research, design, and modeling for estimating the unmet citywide demand for food. This work resulted in a first-of-its-kind $15MM public-private partnershipbetween the City of New Orleans (funded by FEMA) and a private food vendor that was tasked with providing two hot meals to food insecure people each day. The city vendor, Revolutionary Foods, partnered with the Chef Brigade, allowing 70 local restaurants to re-employ staff while feeding hungry residents.