To help meet critical needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation has launched a grant program to support established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving St. Bernard Parish. Its first grant more than doubles the Meraux Foundation’s annual commitment to the Community Center of St. Bernard, a charity that provides emergency food assistance to local families.
“In times of crisis our community comes together to do great things, and we will this time too,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation. “The economic downturn is affecting local families, so our first COVID-19 Response Grant will help feed people in need, including those put out of work and seniors sheltering at home.”
The Meraux Foundation is monitoring the rapidly evolving situation to identify the critical needs so that its funds have the greatest impact. It is providing grants exclusively to established 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving St. Bernard Parish, and it is not accepting proposals or solicitations for grants.
As part of the program, the Meraux Foundation has created an online information center at merauxfoundation.org/covid to catalogue resources and share news about its Response Grant recipients.
The Community Center, the local partner food pantry of Second Harvest, is responding to an increased need for food to feed children, seniors, and workers who have lost their jobs.
“Just today we had 10 new families sign up for assistance, and we expect many more to follow as the situation progresses,” said Jamie Hornberger, the Community Center’s executive director. “We already feed about 140 families each month, as well as many elderly individuals who can’t get around well, so we’re working to scale up operations to try to meet the need caused by the pandemic. The additional funds from the Meraux Foundation will go a long way.”
The Community Center has instituted new protocols to help prevent the spread of the virus, including curbside-only pickup and restricted access to its facility. It is no longer accepting volunteers, but anyone interesting in helping is encouraged to deliver nonperishable goods to the center at 6800 Patricia St. in Arabi.
To apply for assistance from the Community Center, people must provide a valid ID or driver’s license, proof of residency, and proof of income. Individuals without income can apply.
About the Arlene and Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation
The Meraux Foundation is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established by Arlene Meraux to benefit the community of St. Bernard Parish by leveraging its landholdings. Today, the Foundation’s board of directors is presided over by Arlene’s niece, Rita Gue, and consists of members Floyd Gue, Bill Haines, Chris Haines, and Sidney Torres, III. Guided by Arlene’s vision, the Board is implementing an innovative strategy to create lasting change and build a better St. Bernard. In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Meraux Foundation created the COVID-19 Response Program to provide grants to nonprofits serving St. Bernard Parish.