Hurricane Ida recently made landfall in southern Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, resulting in severe flooding, mass power outages, and immense structural damage. It was tied for the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever hit the mainland United States.
Hundreds of thousands are facing clean water shortages or boil-water advisories, which could last days. And according to Louisiana Governor John Bel Edward, more than 1.1 million homes and businesses were without power following the worst of the storm. In some of the hardest-hit regions, including New Orleans, households may be without electricity for weeks.
Thankfully, organizations are already mobilizing to provide immediate support to residents. With many carrying on the work they started in response to previous hurricanes or the COVID-19 pandemic, groups are organizing volunteers and distributing hot meals, drinking water, and basic supplies.
In New Orleans, community members are also building out a Google Doc of resources where people can find restaurants serving free food, wifi and charging stations, gasoline, and emergency housing.
“Things are going to get better,” José Andrés, Chef and Founder of World Central Kitchen (WCK), says in a video about the food aid his organization is providing. “But there’s still…no ATMs to get money, or no cell signal, or no electricity, or no gas. It’s a whole bunch of reasons why we need to do this [work].”
As efforts continue in the days, weeks, and months to come, consider supporting these 14 organizations—whether by donating funds or time—and aid in Louisiana’s recovery.
Led by women of color, this grassroots collaborative focuses on cultural organizing, advocacy, transformative justice, education, and capacity building to support communities across the Gulf South. Another Gulf is Possible manages a mutual aid and rapid response fund, which goes toward Indigenous, Black, and Brown individuals and groups affected by the storm. They are accepting donations to support their mutual aid efforts here. Their page dedicated to Hurricane Ida also includes a list of other groups that they recommend giving to directly.
Founded after Hurricane Katrina, Cajun Navy relief helps rescue people and distributes basic necessities. Support Cajun Navy Relief in-person as a volunteer or consider donating funds or supplies. The organization accepts supplies including canned goods, water, cleaning products, and toiletries. Those in need of support can also request items through their website.
Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Culture Aid NOLA supports New Orleans hospitality workers, artists, and others who contribute to the city’s vibrant culture. Working with a number of other on-the-ground organizations, including Second Harvest Food Bank and World Central Kitchen, Culture Aid NOLA is helping to provide food to New Orleans residents. Donate here to support their Hurricane Ida response.
House of Tulip is a collective fighting for the transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) community in Louisiana. In addition to working toward long-term housing solutions, the organization is distributing direct aid to TGNC people affected by the storm. Donate to House of Tulip here. TGNC people can also apply for aid by completing this form.
Imagine Water Works focuses on conservation, but is also heavily involved in hurricane relief efforts to support affected communities, with particular attention paid to LGBTQ+ individuals. They lead the Mutual Aid Response Network, a group of Louisiana residents that responds to floods, storms, and other disasters. Their Network is accepting monetary donations which will support relief and recovery efforts following Hurricane Ida as well as preparation needed throughout the entire hurricane season.
6. In the Weeds
In the Weeds is a national nonprofit that advocates for the mental and physical wellness of hospitality professionals. In response to the storm, the organization launched a mutual aid fund for independent restaurants, cottage food makers, and hospitality workers. Individuals and businesses can apply for support here to help them cover perishable food costs. To support the relief fund, donate here.
In response to disaster, the Jesus Alliance helps to stabilize affected individuals and families. Following Hurricane Ida, the Alliance helped to purchase supplies for New Orleans Chef Amy Sins. Sins, who helped feed residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura in 2020, is jumping into action again to make sure her neighbors receive fresh meals. Donate to the Alliance’s Hurricane Ida relief fund to support Sins’ work here and follow Sins’ efforts on her Flood & Disaster Outreach group here.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, Krewe of Red Beans launched Feed the Front Lines NOLA to support healthcare workers and local restaurants. Then in May 2020, they started a related project, Feed the Second Line NOLA initiative, which works to support musicians and culture groups. In response to Hurricane Ida, Feed the Second Line is putting together a crew to tarp roofs and help protect residents’ homes from the elements in the coming days. Donate here.
9. Mercy Chefs
Since its founding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia-based Mercy Chefs has served more than 15 million meals to people impacted by natural disasters and food insecurity. After Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana, the organization sent two mobile kitchens to the state to distribute hot, chef-prepared meals. Volunteers who are able to help prepare and serve meals can sign up here. To make a donation, text “CHEFS” to 24365 or click here.
The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) is partnering up with World Central Kitchen to help people in Louisiana access food. To help expand their reach, they are looking for volunteers to prepare and pack meals, and are updating shifts on their sign up page here. NOCHI is also offering paid work to help residents who are uncertain when they will receive their next paycheck. For more information on their paid positions, visit NOCHI’s Instagram page. To make a donation to the Institute, click here and leave “Ida Relief Initiative” in the comments.
Second Harvest Food Bank is the largest charitable anti-hunger network in South Louisiana, fighting hunger by providing food access, advocacy, education, and disaster response. Second Harvest has helped individuals and families in the face of dozens of disasters and prepared thousands of disaster-readiness boxes. The food bank is accepting monetary donations to support Hurricane Ida relief efforts. Those who have the ability to volunteer in-person once organizations have assessed the damage and their needs can also pre-register now.
A multiracial and multigenerational community based organization, Step Up advocates for education and economic justice in Louisiana. Every cent the organization raises this week will help support hurricane relief efforts. Those with means can donate here and volunteers can get involved by emailing email@example.com. Residents in need of water, housing, infant formula, and more can also request support here.
The Houma Nation is one of the largest state-recognized Native American tribes in North America. It is also one of the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Ida. Despite this, the Tribe is at risk of being overlooked by federal relief because it is not federally recognized. United Houma Nation, a nonprofit that supports the Houma Nation’s daily operations and programming and will aid in the Houma Nation’s recovery. Make a donation here.
Founded by chef and activist José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) has provided millions of meals to those affected by man-made and natural disasters. WCK’s team set up three kitchens in New Orleans and, immediately after the storm’s passing, began distributing hot meals along with sandwiches and fresh fruit. According to a short video shared by Andrés, he and his team plan to expand their efforts to reach more people in need across the state. Support WCK’s work across Louisiana by making a donation.