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Date:September 5, 2012
Contact:Media Relations @ (225) 342-3035

Feeding responsibilities shift as evacuees return home

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has worked since before Hurricane Isaac made landfall to ensure evacuees and storm-hit communities receive hot meals. The agency is now shifting its focus to supporting communities, non-profits and faith-based organizations transition from disaster response feeding to more typical operations.

By Tuesday night, the LWC had helped to coordinate 359,400 hot meals for evacuees and communities hit by Isaac. Of those, more than 81,400 meals were served to evacuees in state-run shelters. The LWC contracts with various food vendors around the state to ensure hot meals are provided to everyone at state-run shelters.

The LWC also helped to coordinate the efforts of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other volunteer relief organizations to support Louisiana National Guard emergency distribution points during the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.

Through Tuesday night, the Red Cross had provided more than 206,000 meals through fixed points of distribution as well as its mobile feeding operations, which reach into the hardest-hit areas. Most meals delivered by the Red Cross have been cooked by the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief organization, with additional support provided by LWC-contracted vendors.

The Salvation Army has cooked and delivered more than 41,900 meals through its mobile canteens; and other faith-based relief groups had cooked and delivered more than 29,700 meals.

The relief organizations were continuing to cook and deliver meals Wednesday. Emergency food operations will continue in the hardest hit parishes for as long as necessary.

However, now that power has been restored to most customers in the disaster parishes, the LWC has begun working with the relief agencies, Food Banks and FEMA to ensure coordination as each parish returns to more normal operations.

"Food banks are working in high gear and other aid organizations are fully mobilized," LWC Executive Curt Eysink said. "Also, most children are back in school, grocery stores and other retailers are open for business and disaster payments have started to flow into the affected parishes. Many organizations are working together closely to ensure a smooth transition to the point at which victims of Hurricane Isaac no longer need assistance meeting their nutritional needs."

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