Emeril raises $500K in COVID relief funds for local communities, restaurant workers and more
John Lamparski/Getty ImagesBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Emeril Lagasse is known for his bold flavors in the kitchen and his even bigger heart when it comes to helping his local community, so it comes as no surprise that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic he has once again kicked it up a notch.
The New Orleans-based celebrity chef and restaurateur has seen firsthand how to adapt and help those in need in the wake of tragedy following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was quick to lend a hand with the recent onslaught of job losses, restaurant closures and families in need of assistance.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation announced Thursday that it has committed $500,000 in grants to support youth organizations, families of hospitality industry workers and community meals to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
The multi-tiered relief response will grant immediate funding and long-term support to youth programs and families of hospitality industry workers in Louisiana, Nevada and Florida, where Lagasse has local ties with multiple restaurants.
“The need to support the youth in our community is a priority of Alden and I through the work of our Foundation. The need is more overwhelming than ever,” Lagasse said in a statement about his and his wife’s efforts to help. “We are committed to our mission of helping disadvantaged youth during this extraordinary time.”
According to the foundation, $150,000 of the most recent round of rapid response grants will go to organizations that provide essential services to vulnerable communities.
Those organizations include: Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana, Covenant House, Café Reconcile, Café Hope, Liberty’s Kitchen, Youth Empowerment Project and Three Square Food Bank of Las Vegas.
When the COVID-19 outbreak started to take a drastic toll on the restaurant and hospitality industry, Emeril’s foundation raised over $150,000 for nonprofits in Walton and Okaloosa Counties and awarded an additional $150,000 in grants to nonprofits that provide services for individuals with developmental disabilities in Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Dade Counties.
In addition to the immediate grant funding, the foundation has collaborated with Emeril’s Homebase in New Orleans to provide weekly meals to youth in the community, as well as to his restaurant team and family.
The foundation predicted that the need for support will continue to grow and has allocated $125,000 in grants to be distributed this fall to help local hospitality industry workers.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has also shared its message with others to help raise awareness and join in its commitment to this essential industry.
“The foundation is proud to continue to work together with the community while navigating this difficult time,” according to a press release.
Emeril’s namesake organization was first founded in 2002 and seeks to “create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education with a focus on life skills development.”
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted over $13.5 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs.
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