Second Harvest Food Bank – here to help any crisis

Second Harvest Food Bank is well known for its work helping those who are food insecure, but many might not realize that it also steps up in times of national disasters.

Even though it has been 13 years, New Orleanians won’t ever forget the generosity of others in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The devastation continuing to be caused by Hurricane Florence has prompted Second Harvest Food Bank, in partnership with 20 local chefs, restaurants and restaurant supply businesses, to prepare and deliver approximately 4,000 meals to help the victims in North Carolina and South Carolina.

The meals were cooked at Second Harvest’s 8,500-square-foot Community Kitchen in Harahan. Among the variety of meals prepared were shrimp and butter beans, grillades and grits, fried turkey, chicken and andouille gumbo and bread pudding, said chef Amy Sins, owner of Langlois, who helped organize a similar event after a recent disaster. 

These meals were flash-frozen and delivered via two airplanes from New Orleans Lakefront Airport Sept. 23 headed to New Burn, North Carolina, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, by pilots who donated their time and plane owners who donated their planes and fuel to help residents and first responders in North and South Carolina, said Second Harvest’s director of marketing and communications Jay Vise.

“It’s amazing what the Second Harvest Community Kitchen and staff does after every disaster to make response events like this happen,” Sins said. “These restaurant volunteers worked a full shift cooking these meals before heading into their regular jobs.”

Local restaurateurs rally

Vise said local restaurant owners and suppliers donated the majority of the ingredients for the meals prepared for Hurricane Florence victims, so most of the items didn’t come out of the Second Harvest regular stock of food for those in need.

“We are very grateful to be able to help others across our country who have helped Louisiana so many times in the past,” Sins said.

Because of her experience dealing with nine local and southeast disasters in three years, Second Harvest’s president and CEO Natalie Jayroe went to North Carolina Sept. 20-25 to assist Feeding America, the national association of about 180  food banks of which Second Harvest is a member, gather information to progress to  the next steps in hurricane response, Vise said.

In recent years, Second Harvest has responded to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding.

Jayroe also is giving advice to other participating food banks as they respond to the logistics, food distribution and disaster resources, and is helping all member organizations determine the most appropriate way to guide the public to donate the most-needed items.

How the public can help

There are several ways to support Second Harvest’s effort to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Monetary donations are the best way to help underwrite the costs of preparing and delivering supplies. Second Harvest has started a fund to support its Feeding America food bank partners in the area impacted by the storm. Monetary donations can be sent over the internet at: For details, contact 

Non-perishable food, water, emergency supplies and cleaning supplies can also be dropped off at Second Harvest’s facility at 700 Edwards Ave. in Harahan (in the Elmwood Warehouse District area near the Huey P. Long Bridge). Feeding America arranges transportation for trucks that will take these items to the disaster sites.

“We solicit disaster supplies such as cleaning supplies, gloves and rakes year-round,” Vise said. “We have such a large warehouse, we can keep these things year-round to quickly respond to disasters no matter where they happen,” Vise said.

Christine Bordelon can be reached at

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