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Convention Center Employees Take Time Off to Give Back

NEW ORLEANS — Twenty-five employees of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (NOENMCC) took personal time off to volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank—and there’s a special reason why. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) cancelled its in-person show in February but remained committed to its tradition of making a philanthropic donation to a local organization in the city where the annual show is held. In response, Convention Center employees donated their time to volunteer.

This year, NADA donated $25,000 to the New Orleans Second Harvest Food Bank in response to the alarming increase in food insecurity in the region caused by the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, Second Harvest has nearly doubled its food distribution despite a drastic increase in the organization’s operating costs. Second Harvest anticipates its need to remain elevated through 2021.

“Fighting hunger is a community-wide effort, and simply put, we need both monetary and volunteer donations to make our organization run smoothly,” said President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank Natalie Jayroe. “Every single meal we provide to a family, a child or a senior is because of donations like NADA’s and volunteer efforts such as the Convention Center team members. These individuals have opened their hearts. Words cannot fully express my gratitude for those that have stepped up during this crisis.”

One in five households in Louisiana is at risk of hunger. Across the state and region, the rising cost of food, housing, and utilities, coupled with high unemployment due to COVID-19, has increased the need for emergency food assistance.

“I am certainly proud of our employees,” said Convention Center President, Michael J. Sawaya. “I am also proud of NADA. Even though they had to cancel their show, they held true to their commitment. After a year like 2020, the impact this money will have on our community will reach a little farther and wider than ever before.

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