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PRESS RELEASE

DSS and Second Harvest Request $250,000 for Immediate Food Assistance for Impacted Families, BP Partially Funds

BATON ROUGE (May 6, 2010) - In response to a letter sent Wednesday from the Louisiana Department of Social Services and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, BP provided a $100,000 check today to Second Harvest to support food assistance for families in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes impacted by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The letter requested $250,000 in immediate assistance.

“We hope this is just the first outlay of assistance to those whose livelihoods have been threatened because of the oil spill in the Gulf,” said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols.

This $100,000 assistance will be used to replace inventory that Second Harvest is already distributing to families and to provide additional assistance. This initial grant is expected to last for a little more than a month.

Second Harvest estimates that assisting more than 800 families in St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes will cost more than $89,000 per month. That number is expected to increase drastically as oil moves closer to shore and more communities are affected by the spill.

The full letter requesting $250,000 to begin purchasing such inventory or an opportunity to develop a process where Second Harvest could directly submit receipts to BP for cost reimbursement of these ongoing activities is below:

 

May 5, 2010
Frank Hernandez  
V.P. Government & Public Affairs 
BP America Inc. 
501 Westlake Park Blvd., WL1 - 25188  
Houston, TX 77079

Dear Mr. Hernandez,

As has been previously noted, it is anticipated that residents in Louisiana’s coastal parishes affected by the oil spill may need food assistance resulting from loss of income or the need to evacuate the affected area. Our families are already experiencing economic impacts due to the disruption in the seafood and tourism industries. This letter is to formally request BP support for Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana (Second Harvest) to address the emerging food assistance needs of the impacted citizens and provide for the replenishment of household goods and commodities distributed in the area.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) and Second Harvest have been working in collaboration to address the heightened food assistance needs of citizens. On Monday, May 2, 2010, DSS launched twelve Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach teams to enroll eligible individuals and families. In coordination with these outreach activities Second Harvest began preparing emergency food boxes to provide immediate food assistance in the impacted coastal area and will make these resources available at DSS outreach efforts. Second Harvest has packaged approximately 350 emergency boxes for distribution and will be distributing food to approximately 150 St. Bernard families at the Breton Sound Marina. These emergency food boxes have been created using current inventory.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana currently serves 23 parishes, many of which are directly along Louisiana’s coastline including: Plaquemines, St. Bernard, Jefferson, Lafourche, Terrebonne, Orleans, Iberia, Vermillion, and Cameron parishes. As current resources are diverted towards citizens impacted by the oil spill incident, our concern is to ensure resources are available to both purchase additional household goods for distribution and to backfill existing inventory. Replenishing inventory is critical to prevent other low-income families and elderly citizens from going hungry as resources are directed towards the coastal parishes due to the oil spill incident.

With current inventory, Second Harvest can prepare approximately 150 more emergency boxes. A list of products requested for distribution to families affected by the oil spill is provided below.

 

Description

Size

Chef Boy Ardee Meals

15 oz pack

Fruit-Granola Bars

1.5 oz pack

Cereal Bars

1.5 oz pack

Applesauce

4 oz pack

Juice Box

6.75 oz pack

Shelf Stable Milk Box

6.75 oz pack

Chex Mix

12 pack

Snack Pack Pudding

4 oz pack

Fruit Cup

4 oz pack

Water

16 oz bottles

Rice

2 lb. bag

Spaghetti

2 lb. bag

Can Fruit

15 oz can

Can Vegetables

15 oz can

Beans

2 lb. bag

Spaghetti Sauce

15 oz jar

Tomato Sauce

15 oz can

Peanut Butter

15 oz jar

Jelly

15 oz jar

Cereal

20 oz box

Tuna

3 oz can

Baby items

Household items

Toiletries

In order to address this need, DSS and Second Harvest are requesting a grant from BP to Second Harvest in the amount of $250,000 to begin purchasing such inventory or an opportunity to develop a process where Second Harvest could directly submit receipts to BP for cost reimbursement of these ongoing activities.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this request. Please contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Kristy H. Nichols, Secretary, DSS
Natalie Jayroe, President, Second Harvest

For more information related to the oil spill, visit www.emergency.louisiana.gov. Connect with us on www.facebook.com/GOHSEP and on Twitter @GOHSEP. View photos from the state's response efforts at www.flickr.com/photos/lagohsep.

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