Krewe behind Feed the Front Line launches Feed the Second Line

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Krewe of Dead Beans, an offshoot of Red Beans, marches in the Bayou St. John neighborhood on Lundi Gras 2020. (Camille Barnett, Mid-City Messenger)

From the Krewe of Red Beans

Krewe of Red Beans, Rouses Markets, the Preservation Hall Foundation, Market Umbrella and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic & Assistance Foundation are partnering for a new effort to ease the pain of the pandemic, the Feed the Second Line program

On March 17, the Krewe of Red Beans, a group that holds a Lundi Gras walking parade, began raising money to buy food from locally owned New Orleans restaurants. Quickly, the effort grew. A month later, the Krewe of Red Beans was operating the largest such effort in the United States.

As of April 19, the Feed the Front Line NOLA had sent over 60,000 meals to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers engaged directly with COVID-19 patients, spending $566,000 in the local economy so far. 49 restaurants and coffee shops are being supported by the initiative.

Feed the Second Line, a sister effort, was announced on Friday (April 24), which would have been the second day of our city’s beloved Jazz and Heritage Festival. Feed the Second Line seeks to provide food-love and employment to our culture-bearers — musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, Social Aid and Pleasure Club members, artists and other cultural figures in the New Orleans community.

The initiative will pair older, more vulnerable musicians and artists with their younger counterparts to assist them with shopping for their groceries and household needs. The benefits of this program will be two-fold — providing much needed groceries for free to the venerated culture-bearers of our great city, with contactless delivery to protect them from public exposure during the pandemic, while providing employment to the younger generation losing weeks, possibly months, of paying gigs.

The team at Rouses Markets worked with Feed the Second Line to create a shopping list that includes more than 300 grocery items, with a focus on local brands, plus essential household supplies and personal items. Market Umbrella will provide healthy, fresh products directly from local food producers including farmers, fishers, ranchers and more. The New Orleans Musicians Clinic & Foundation will help with identifying those individuals in need to participate in both aspects of the program.

Feed the Second Line’s first community partnerships are with Black Men of Labor, a Social Aid and Pleasure Club, and the Treme Brass Band and Monogram Hunters Mardi Gras Indian Tribe, Big Chief “Pie.”

The new initiative builds on Rouses Markets’ commitment to support vulnerable communities impacted by COVID-19. In March, the grocer kicked off a first-in-the-country program to sell ready-made meals from local restaurants. Proceeds from the sales of these chef-prepared meals go directly to the restaurants.

Since opening the Saturday flagship Crescent City Farmers Market in 1995, Market Umbrella has worked to cultivate community markets that utilize local resources to bolster authentic local traditions.

Donations to Feed the Second Line will support wages paid directly to the musicians and artists making these critical deliveries as well as provide these essential items to the treasured, older generation of New Orleans’ culture-bearers free of charge. Tax deductible contributions to Feed the Second Line can be made directly to Krewe of Red Beans, a 501(c)3 organization.

Anyone can donate by visiting www.feedthesecondlinenola.org or sending a check to Krewe of Red Beans, 818 Gallier St., New Orleans, LA 70117. Make checks payable to Krewe of Red Beans and write “for the second line” in the memo line.

The Krewe of Red Bean makes a delivery to hospital workers. The project is multi-tiered: it feeds the front-lines while bringing business to restaurants and work to gig-less musicians. (via Instagram)

The Krewe of Red Beans is know for its suits, which are decorated with food items such as beans, rice, lentils, bay leafs, peas among other things and inspired by the intricate bead work of Mardi Gras Indians. Because The Krewe of Red Beans is already a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, its was able to pivot quickly to respond to this pandemic to launch Feed the Front Line NOLA, which has raised nearly $800,000 in its first month.

Feed the Front Line NOLA hires musicians to deliver food from locally owned restaurants to hospital workers (our beloved “front line”). It is entirely volunteer-based. This allows 99% of donations to go to the recipients of the service: the restaurants, the health care workers and the musicians. More information can be found at www.feedthefrontlinenola.org.

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