How one Mardi Gras parade organizer is uniting an entire community

Kelsey Weekman
In The Know

Residents of one of the most creative cities on earth have come together to lift each other up amid the global health crisis.

Feed the Frontline NOLA is uniting eclectic individuals in New Orleans to achieve the common goal of feeding first responders and keeping the city’s vibrant restaurants in business.

Members of the group buy food from local eateries, then bring those meals to restaurant employees.

Credit: Feed the Frontline NOLA / In The Know’s Dani Sklarz

Devin DeWulf, the founder of Feed the Frontline, told In The Know he thinks it’s essential that “everyone tries to do something” for their community at this time.

“We are enabling ourselves to be the problem solvers instead of the victims,” he said.

As a parade organizer by trade, he formed the Krewe of Red Beans 12 years ago. It’s a group of people united by their love of helping others — and passion for “hot gluing beans to stuff.”

 

Credit: Feed the Frontline NOLA / In The Know’s Dani Sklarz

DeWulf turned to the Krewe, which is a nonprofit organization associated with Mardi Gras, to utilize its mission to “do good” whenever possible.

“I knew that the restaurants were suffering and the healthcare workers were dealing with the greatest challenge that they ever faced in their career,” he told In The Know.

He said he was inspired by a universal truth — that any time someone brings delicious food into a workplace, everyone there is instantly happier.

Members from the Krewe formed Feed the Frontline, which is currently feeding every hospital in the city and providing about 2,200 meals every single day.

Credit: Feed the Frontline NOLA / In The Know’s Dani Sklarz

Instead of just hiring volunteers to make the deliveries, DeWulf prefers to hire out-of-work musicians. He’s also hired artists to create Feed the Frontline’s marketing campaign.

“There’s artists here that really care about people because we all kind of suffer together,” DeWulf told In The Know. “We all know the power of art, the power of culture. It can give you hope, it can help you push through some terrible stuff.”

He compared organizing this massive initiative to the fleeting thrill of preparing a costume for a parade.

“You can spend so much effort making a costume where you made it super intricate … but you’re only gonna wear it one time and that’s it,” he said. “It’s fine to put in all this effort for just one moment in your life and then move on.”

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about how you can help the Black community, which is being disproportionately affected by the global health crisis right now.

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