April 1, 2020

Help is on the Way for Service and Hospitality Industry Families

Help is on the Way for Service and Hospitality Industry Families

The New Orleans Saints recently announced that the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) has launched an initiative to help Louisiana service and hospitality workers that have been adversely impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Launched In partnership with the Louisiana Restaurant Association, the Louisiana Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program will provide vital assistance to workers in the affected service and hospitality industries so that they can meet the basic needs of their children and elderly parents.  This program is a critical first step in providing resources and is made possible by Mrs. Gayle Benson, team owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans and board member of the GNOF. Initial funding for the program totals $600,000, which is thanks to contributions of $500,000 from Mrs. Gayle Benson and $100,000 from the McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco®

“Service and hospitality workers are the backbone of this region’s economy,” said Andy Kopplin, GNOF President & CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of Mrs. Benson, the Tabasco® brand and the McIlhenny family, we have the opportunity to support hospitality workers and their families and help them make ends meet in these difficult times.”

Mrs. Gayle Benson added, “Every day, it is these individuals who do whatever it takes for our restaurants, bars, and hotels to operate at peak performance, and now we must do our part to return the favor. ”

McIlhenny President and CEO Harold G. Osborn said, “In this current state of emergency, the service and hospitality workers so essential to our local economy are among the most adversely affected, particularly those who are caring for children and elderly family members,” and invited those that could donate to do so.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association’s CEO, Stan Harris, said, “Thanks to the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Mrs. Gayle Benson, and McIlhenny Company, some of the most vulnerable families who depend on the earnings of service and hospitality workers will get much needed help.”

Applicants seeking assistance from this program should visit the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s portal for online grants at www.gnof.org/grants. The portal opened on Wednesday, March 25, 2020.  There will be a 10 day window for review of applications, and awards are to be disbursed within 14 days.  Applications are available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Applicants will also be required to submit an electronic copy of their state-issued driver’s license or another government-issued identification card, as well as their pay stubs for the  preceding 30 days and a copy of either their 2018 or 2019 federal tax return.

Additional requirements for applicants include:

  • Must have earned below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Must have worked for more than 32 hours per week in restaurants, bars, or hotels in the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s 13-parish region prior to March 9, 2020

Donations to support the expansion of this program are greatly appreciated and can be made to the Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation by visiting www.gnof.org/benson.

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