In anticipation of the peak of hurricane season, a new New Orleans-based nonprofit ‘Feed the Second Line’ has launched its project ‘Get Lit, Stay Lit’ to help local restaurants continue to operate in the aftermath of a potential hurricane. According to Southern Living, the nonprofit has set a goal to keep restaurants running and eliminate food waste by using solar power and batteries. The idea came about because of the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in the summer of 2021, which took out power causing restaurant owners to discard all of the food in their freezers and refrigerators. Devin De Wulf, the founder of Feed the Second Line, is hopeful that his new project will be a success, ensuring the food supply for New Orleans restaurants remains intact as well as their service during and after a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
According to Southern Living, the goal of ‘Get Lit, Stay Lit’ is to “outfit restaurants with solar power panels and batteries to store the electricity they generate. The idea is that because solar power doesn’t rely on the main power grid, if a hurricane sweeps through and knocks the city offline, restaurants can use their solar power reserves to keep the lights on, stay open, and help feed those in need. Not only will restaurants be able to save their food stores, but they can keep their doors open to feed people. They will be able to serve as community centers during and after the storms, giving folks a stay warm and dry, charge their phones, and fill their stomachs.”
The first solar panels installed for the ‘Get Lit, Stay Lit’ project were at Mid-City Caribbean restaurant Queen Trini Lisa, and they hope to expand their project to 300 additional local restaurants which would pretty much cover the entire city. According to Feed the Second Line, each restaurant installation costs $60,000 to $90,000, and they say the investment in storm preparedness is well worth the effort. Additional benefits the program lists include less job interruptions, stronger small businesses, and more compassion in relief work with their work being local.
With their ‘Get Lit, Stay Lit’ program, Feed the Second Line is setting up New Orleans to be prepared should another hurricane devastate their area. Ensuring locals and relief workers are fed and have access to electricity will make a world of difference in the aftermath of a hurricane where the circumstances usually mean difficulty finding such resources in addition to the challenges of relief and recovery.