According to WGNO, New Orleans native Peyton Manning and his wife Ashley donated a generous amount to the United Way of Southeast Louisiana's Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund, a collaboration between United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA), the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation (LHF), and Entergy. The goal of the fund is to provide crisis grants to hospitality workers who may not be able to afford basic necessities due to the COVID-19 crisis. Manning took to social media to encourage fans worldwide to donate to the fund, in hopes of making a difference in his hometown.
The Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund is now well over the million-dollar mark, thanks to a $25,000 matching challenge created by Saints linebacker Demario Davis and his wife Tamela, as well as a $50,000 gift from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. Jennifer Kelley, executive director of LHF is astounded by the response the fund has gotten thus far. "We are beyond grateful for their contributions and take comfort in knowing that for every Manning and Davis, there are also dozens of everyday heroes stepping up to contribute and provide hope where it's needed most," she said.
New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno is proud to be partnering with these organizations. "This truly shows how much the people of New Orleans care for each other and that we're all in this together," Moreno said in response to their efforts.
The more than a million dollars that the fund has raised will allow UWSELA to send one-time $500 grants to over 2,000 individuals in the hospitality industry. "It is promising to know we will be able to get immediate financial assistance to thousands of vulnerable households across the region, but we know we still have a long way to go, tens of millions at least, if we are to get a grant to every hospitality worker in need," said Michael Williamson, president and CEO of UWSELA.
UWSELA temporarily closed the application process for six hours the very same day it opened after receiving responses from over 2,000 applicants across seven parishes. Grants will continue to be distributed throughout the month of April, via check and direct deposit. Those willing to contribute to the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund can do so here.