Culture Aid NOLA (CAN) is working with Footprint Project through a grant from Elevance Health Foundation to build more green and efficient operations. More than 400 families are served with free, fresh produce at each of CAN’s twice-weekly no-barrier no-stigma grocery distributions, and through solar innovations Footprint Project aims to reduce energy use at these events. 

Footprint Project, with support from Elevance Health Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health, is partnering with CAN, Sprout NOLA, and New Orleans Community Fridges to provide solar + battery solutions for local community coolers. The Healthier Power initiative will ensure that pillars of the food security community remain resilient through disaster power outages, eliminating both food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

"How can we help power your mission? At Footprint Project, this question is always at the core of our work. We are thrilled to be partnering with Culture Aid NOLA, whose non-traditional food bank model is a mission we're honored to help power,” said Jamie Swezey, Footprint Project Program Director. 

"The partnership with Footprint Project gives Culture Aid NOLA relief going into summer months and hurricane season. Working through blue and grey skies, it is crucial for us to have access to temperature regulated coolers to store food and access to power to continue operating on site,” said CAN Executive Director Ellie Duff. 

Items like solar-powered generators, panels and temperature regulated coolers from the Footprint Project will ensure that Culture Aid NOLA can continue serving free food while keeping families comfortable and food fresh, on a weekly basis and in response to local major weather events. 

“Many of the communities we serve are severely impacted each year by some type of natural disaster. By expanding our community resiliency and disaster relief grants, we are able to make a greater impact not only in the communities we serve, but for the individuals who are impacted as well,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer of Elevance Health.“Together with our partners, Elevance Health Foundation will continue working to measurably improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts throughout the country.”

This new technology will power CAN through extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida, and more chronic climate issues. Due to record-breaking heat last summer, CAN had to cancel almost all late afternoon distributions in the month of August for the safety of volunteers and guests. With increased temperatures throughout the summer, being able to power misting fans and charge pallet jacks with solar power will allow CAN to deal with the effects of climate change without contributing further.