9/28/2020 Update: Eligibility requirements now include all grocery workers who live in Orleans Parish.
Fund will provide one-time Entergy New Orleans bill assistance
NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA), the New Orleans Council on Aging (NOCOA) and Entergy New Orleans are proud to announce a contribution from New Orleans native Anthony Mackie to launch the United for Grocery Workers Relief Fund to support struggling grocery store employees throughout Orleans Parish.
The fund will provide a one-time $150 direct credit toward workers’ Entergy New Orleans utility bills.
“We often take for granted the people that are always there for us. I go to the grocery store 3-4 times a week for me and my family,” said Mackie. “Every time, I come face to face with essential workers who are providing me and so many others with one of the most important necessities, food. Now, more than ever, it is important that we express our gratitude and appreciation.”
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, grocery store workers were often overlooked as essential employees even though households cannot go without the goods they help to provide. The virus highlighted the essential nature of their work and exposed the difficult decisions they are making to take care of their households.
Workers employed in public-facing hourly-wage jobs are especially vulnerable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This pandemic has forced many grocery store workers to decide between protecting their lives or protecting their livelihoods,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO. “United Way is grateful for Anthony’s support to stabilize the grocery workers who have remained on the frontlines of this crisis, yet still are unable to make ends meet.”
Industry data reported around 2,500 individuals are employed by grocery stores in Orleans Parish.
The partners want the community to recognize and thank these essential workers for their service year-round – not just in a state of emergency – by providing much-needed financial support.
“We hope the public will join Anthony in pledging their support for our fund and the people who are always there for us during times of crisis,” said Howard L. Rodgers, III, NOCOA executive director. “A small gift will go a long way to ease the financial worries of grocery store workers who continue to serve us throughout the pandemic and into what is already proving to be an active hurricane season.”
The online application is available now at UnitedWaySELA.org/UnitedforGroceryWorkers. Individuals without internet access or in need of translation services may call 211 to apply.
Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Work in a Louisiana-owned grocery store in Orleans Parish and provide current pay stub to show proof of employment
- Provide current Entergy New Orleans power bill to show proof of residence
“The more we can do to support essential workers while we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the better they are able to focus on caring for their families and the community,” said David Ellis, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans. “We are proud to partner with New Orleans native Anthony Mackie, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and the New Orleans Council on Aging in supporting grocery workers who remain committed to ensuring residents of New Orleans have access to fresh and nutritious food.”
The public is invited to contribute to the United for Grocery Workers Relief Fund at UnitedWaySELA.org/UnitedforGroceryWorkers.
About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.
About the New Orleans Council on Aging
The New Orleans Council on Aging (NOCOA) exists to protect the rights, promote the well-being, and enhance the self-esteem of New Orleans elderly by generating opportunities for self-reliance and independence. The New Orleans Council on Aging is a private, non-profit corporation which serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Orleans Parish. The agency is responsible for insuring that a comprehensive and coordinated assortment of social, recreational, educational, and nutritional services are provided to persons aged 60 and over in the City of New Orleans. The New Orleans Council on Aging serves over 20,000 seniors in Orleans Parish through 10 different programs including the operation of 3 senior centers and 11 subcontracted senior centers, but has reduced services due to the COVID-19 Crisis.
One of the programs we have continued is the Power to Care Program. In partnership with Entergy New Orleans, The Power to Care Utility Assistance Program serves qualified seniors and those with disabilities with utility bill payment assistance if they meet specific criteria.