In 2005, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Shore. In New Orleans alone, some estimates put the damages at more than $200 million. Now, nine years later, the region, New Orleans, and its residents, are showing the nation what it means to persevere in the face of hardship and overcome decades-old challenges the destructive storm exacerbated.
TheWashington Post ran a feature on Tuesday profiling the efforts of several local initiatives that work to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to New Orleans’ poorer residents. These initiatives — such as the Grow Dat Youth Farm program, which teaches students how to tend a garden and pays them to grow produce — moved in after Katrina hit and use federal funding to address the long-standing infrastructure problems that have historically prevented residents from living healthful lifestyles.
For example, nearly 42% of the residents in the city’s 7th Ward live in poverty, and despite the fact these residents can live three miles or more from the nearest supermarket, more than 33% do no own a car, according to theWashington Post. Demographics such as these work together to create an environment in which 64% of New Orleans residents are obese.
People like local business owner Dwayne Boudreaux understand how important access to fresh, healthy foods is. According to the Washington Post, it took Boudreaux eight years and assistance from the city’s Fresh Food Retailers Initiative to re-open his Circle Food Store — and that’s where a credit union enters the picture.
Hope Credit Union, which was the focus of a four-part profile in the fourth quarter 2013 issue of Credit Union Strategy & Performance, has doubled down on its investment in local grocery stores through its partnership with the Hope Enterprise Corporation and the Fresh Food Retailers Initiative, which is funded by federal grant money and contribution matches by Hope Enterprise Corporation. The investment in Circle Food Store, which was the first African-American-owned grocery store in the 7th Ward, has helped the grocer re-establish his business’ place as a focal point in the community.
Efforts such as these show how one credit union can make a difference in bettering the lives of members and building communities. Hope even plans to open its first in-store branch in the renovated Circle Food Store.
“People in these communities need access to fresh food,” says Pearl Wicks, senior vice president of retail administration at Hope. “But they also need a place to get fresh, affordable financial products and services.
Read the Anatomy Of Hope Credit Union series today.
Creeks, Rivers, Deltas
Like the Mississippi River for which its home state is named, Hope Credit Union draws from power from many places and instills new life for everyone in its path.
There's No Place Like Hope
Four practices that allow Hope Credit Union to offer high-dollar loans to higher-risk borrowers.
The Rosetta Stone Approach
By delivering a cultivated message right to the doorstep of regulators and lawmakers, Hope Credit Union is creating a ripple effect that outshines its own reach.
The Big Giveback
Hope Credit Union invests in a shared future of success through a number of philanthropic and community-focused endeavors.