New Orleans, LA. – Just before Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Louisiana, Recirculating Farms and partner Top Box Foods delivered 100 Growing Local Garden Bags to the Musicians Clinic and Assistance Foundation for distribution to their “culture bearers” – older and/or ill musicians who are part of the “Meals for Musicians program.
“We are very excited to be donating our Growing Local Garden Bags to the Musicians Clinic. Music is at the heart of our culture in New Orleans, and we are so happy to bring healthy local food to people who share their talent with us all. This week’s bags include satsumas, mixed greens, butternut squash, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, radishes, rice and eggs, all sourced from local farms!” said Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of Recirculating Farms.
Recirculating Farms sells a low cost, all local garden bag for weekly delivery through Top Box to offer fresh food in neighborhoods with low access. The two groups have teamed up to donate garden bags, sponsored by Top Box customers participating in the Give-A-Box program. Others are contributing to this effort too, with Major Acre Farm tapping into local mutual aid funding to cover purchasing greens for the musicians’ bags.
“This has become a real collaborative effort in making access to fresh healthy food possible throughout our community,” said Connor DeLoach of Top Box Foods Louisiana.
Meals for Musicians began in March at the beginning of the music economy shut down as an initiative to provide free take-out meals to musicians 3 days a week, has grown to include a weekly grocery and meal delivery program for elder and medically-compromised New Orleans musicians. A collaboration between the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and the music venue The Howlin Wolf, Meals For Musicians has provided more than 20,000 direct meals to culture bearers. This week’s boost means a lot to both the program coordinators and those they serve.
“We were delighted when we found out our program would be a recipient of the Give-a-Box program. The generous donation of the Growing Local Garden Bags is so important because it ensures that our elders will have fresh, nutritious and locally sourced food, even though many live in food deserts.” said Laura Schweigman, program director, New Orleans Musicians Clinic.
The Meals for Musicians Program runs on a very tight budget that is organized on the principals of disaster management and longevity. What the participants get each week, though, is beyond just the food. Each participant of the program receives a check-in call from NOMC’s community health advocate and a care package containing small lagniappe items (often donated) such as handmade soaps, spices, paper towels, PPE, oils, and a newsletter containing recipes and health facts. This is all in an effort to combat emotional and physical isolation and increase wellness, healthy food access and safety for our elder community.
The program has been supported by a number of community entities, individual donors and a group of volunteers who devote time each week to pack and deliver to our 100 members.
If you would like to support the Meals for Musicians program through a donation of goods or services, please contact Laura Schweigman, chair of Friends of the NOMC, firstname.lastname@example.org. For monetary donations, please visit www.neworleansmusiciansclinic.org/donate and indicate Meals for Musicians or mail a check to 1525 Louisiana Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70115.