Over the last four years, TOP has served over 6 million meals to Louisiana’s children and families. This kind of impact does not just happen; it requires a tribe of dedicated people who show up day after day to fight food insecurity because they deeply care about their fellow community members. At TOP, we call these people Hunger Relief Heroes. They take the form of volunteers, feeding site staff, financial donors, community partners, social media cheerleaders, food vendors, and more! TOP has the pleasure of seeing these folks in action every single day, and we want to share the amazing work of our Hunger Relief Heroes with YOU! For more on what it means to be a Hunger Relief Hero, check out our blog: Hunger Relief Heroes: Who are they and why do they matter?
This week we are introducing one of our food vendor partners, Fresh Food Factor!
Fresh Food Factor is a food vendor born out of the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana (VOASL). VOASL is a not-for-profit human service organization that serves the community’s most vulnerable citizens throughout 16 parishes of southeast Louisiana. Since 1896, Volunteers of America has supported and empowered children and families, seniors, people with disabilities, homeless individuals, veterans, those recovering from addictions and many others. VOASL recognizes that not every family has the resources to provide fresh, healthy meals for their children every day. That’s where their Fresh Food Factor initiative comes in!
Fresh Food Factor serves TOP’s after school and summer feeding programs in the New Orleans area, year-round. The kiddos love their appetizing menu, including things like spaghetti and meatballs and BBQ chicken sandwiches. All of the meals come with fresh fruit and vegetables, and milk! The adults and kids love the quality and freshness of the ingredients that Fresh Food Factor is committed to serving. TOP loves it all!
During our Hurricane Ida relief efforts, Fresh Food Factor stepped up immediately following the storm to help our team scale mass feeding efforts. They worked alongside us to solve complicated issues of food sourcing, safe transportation, staffing, and more as power and resources came back online in the New Orleans area. The quality and quantity of food that Fresh Food Factor was able to produce daily for our mass feeding efforts spanned nearly four months of difficult hours and conditions. TOP’s Development Director, Caitlyn Scales, met at Fresh Food Factor 7 days a week in the early morning hours during Hurricane Ida relief efforts. “The kindness, grit, and shared sweat and tears throughout the months of relief effort following Ida were some of the most fulfilling work I have been able to do with such an amazing team at Fresh Food Factor” said Scales. Each morning, TOP’s Hurricane Ida staff teams would help load trucks, divvy up supplies to send out to communities, and cheer on the Fresh Food Factor team who were all-in for the effort of helping the community in a time of extreme need.
This is not the first time that TOP and Fresh Food Factor have come together to support communities across Southeast Louisiana in extreme conditions. Fresh Food Factor also supported a portion of TOP’s relief efforts during the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic when schools shut down. TOP is thankful for the agility of Fresh Food Factor’s team to think creatively, utilize an abundance of resources, and show extreme grit during times when all of our own basic needs were also at risk. Most importantly, Fresh Food Factor brings the promise of a stable and high-quality food vendor to work with all year to bring healthy, nutritious, and safe food options to youth engaged in enrichment programs who otherwise may not have access to food security outside the school day.
Fresh Food Factor - we are your biggest fans and we are excited to see where our wild ideas and needs take our collaboration next!
For more information on their amazing work, please visit Fresh Food Factor's website here.