Want a beautiful example of community groups coming together for the greater good? Buckle up! Our friends at the Baton Rouge Walls Project connected us to the folks with the Ascent Project. The Ascent Project is helping coordinate the revitalization of the Ardenwood Village and surrounding areas.
Baton Rouge was awarded a $30 million grant to redevelop the Ardenwood Village neighborhood in 2019. Various city-parish agencies, organizations and congressional delegates have been working behind the scenes for years on plans to redevelop the area. Those plans include initiatives to lower crime, boost homeownership and increase employment. Baton Rouge is one of only four cities to receive the highly-competitive Choice Neighborhoods grant, which was announced by U.S. Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy.
When we announced our plans for home delivery of meals (in partnership with Gourmet Gorilla foods), we began reaching out to all the after school organizations that we knew would normally have children coming to them - but due to COVID-19, no longer had gatherings. We quickly partnered with Baton Rouge Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, BREC, Kids' Orchestra and many others, setting up their families to get home meal deliveries. After being introduced to the Ascent Project, we knew they were a perfect fit and quickly collected a list of all kids age 18 and under who lived in the apartments.
TOP has now delivered almost 5,000 healthy dinner and snacks to Ardenwood Village for the past two months. We made a decision to continue serving meals through the holidays to ensure all children had access to a healthy meal during these unprecedented times. Every Friday at 2:00pm, you will see a refrigerated white van in the parking lot, placing boxes of meals at the doors. Historically this area has never had access to grocery stores with fresh and healthy produce. We are so honored to be a part of this revitalization project, and bring healthy meals directly to the doors of kids in need.
Read more about the entire Choice Neighborhood plan in a report from Baton Rouge Area Foundation here.