Non-Profit Spotlight: Culture Aid NOLA
Founded in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Culture Aid NOLA has been serving New Orleans for over a year now. Before COVID, 1 in 6 people in New Orleans was food insecure, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. Culture Aid NOLA’s mission is necessary and straightforward: to serve the culture of New Orleans by directing no-barrier, no-stigma aid to underserved members of the hospitality and cultural community with dignity, grace, and hospitality.
This aid gets delivered through two food distributions per week. They distribute groceries at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in St. Roch on Wednesdays at 6 pm, and Corpus Christi-Epiphany Catholic Church in the 7th Ward on Saturdays at 9 am. They distribute food in hard-hit neighborhoods, ensuring access to those who need it. Culture Aid NOLA requires no paperwork or identification, and guests may take groceries for multiple families as part of their commitment to no-barrier aid. Requiring official documentation adds additional hurdles to an already burdensome process as that documentation can be difficult and time-consuming to get. Allowing individuals to pick up groceries for multiple families also enables communities to support people and families who cannot come out on their own.
Culture Aid NOLA is working to bolster the city to understand that New Orleans’ culture is a culmination of the individual people who live there. Following through on their pledge to aid New Orleans’ people and culture, they serve the community with a holistic approach. In their first year of operation, Culture Aid NOLA distributed 1 million pounds of food to 100,000 people and has now surpassed 1.5 million pounds. They don’t only provide food, however. Culture Aid NOLA is also uplifting the community by offering health information and mental health support access. In purchasing food from local farmers and businesses, they support the city beyond just the food they provide to families. They also support local musicians and performers such as DJ Siphne, a New Orleans-based DJ, who performs at all food distributions. The live music is also part of their commitment to ensuring all guests feel welcome at the food distribution.
Initially sponsored by the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation and the support of local businesses, Culture Aid NOLA was able to start serving the community almost immediately. They became an independent non-profit organization in January 2021. Culture Aid NOLA provides necessary support during an unprecedented crisis and relies on volunteers to pack and distribute food. If you want to get involved, read their COVID-19 safety protocols and sign up for a volunteer shift.