NEW ORLEANS — A walking parade group, the Red Beans Krewe, is keeping locally-owned restaurants in business by feeding hospital workers. They're now the model for groups with the same mission in other states.
The Krewe of Red Beans said it's all about 'food love.'
"Every workplace is the same, when somebody brings delicious food, everybody is happier," said Red Beans founder, Devin De Wulf.
He had a vision to thank health care workers with food, while keeping local restaurants afloat.
"My wife is an ER doctor at UMC," he said. "And when COVID started hitting really hard, she would come home from work and tell me about it everyday. One day she said a nurse brought cookies and shared them with everybody, and that was the 'aha' moment because I knew the restaurants would be struggling and I knew the hospital workers needed some morale boosting."
The operation started small.
"We started with a $60 order of food on Tuesday March 17 and it exploded from there," De Wulf said.
Now, 'Feed the Frontline NOLA' gives 2,300 meals out every day to healthcare workers at 15 hospitals in the New Orleans area.
"You know, we love our city," De Wulf said.
Musicians and artists out of work are hired to deliver the food. It all comes from small neighborhood restaurants.
"We're like, okay, now for sure we will be able to stay open," said Iderlin Donna Rivera, owner of Que Rico Cuban Cafe.
Rivera said this effort is helping restaurants stay in business, since they will order from the same restaurants several times a week.
De Wulf and his crew teach groups around the country how to help in their cities. They're part of the national 'Frontline Foods Network.'
"But believe it or not, the group in New Orleans is doing the most of anybody," De Wulf said.
They've completed 51,000 meals within the last month, pouring half a million dollars into New Orleans restaurants.
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