Hurricane Ida made landfall in late August, leaving a massive path of destruction and devastation in its wake. Weeks after the hurricane hit, there was still a need to support those who were left without a home or electricity.
The Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support worked with DLA Distribution and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get 806,000 commercial shelf-stable meals to six food banks in Louisiana.
Deliveries were made to food banks in the cities of Houma, Lafayette, Shreveport, New Orleans, respectively, and two in Baton Rouge, said Harry Streibich, division chief of Subsistence Operational Rations at Troop Support.
FEMA placed orders for the meals Sept. 17, which were delivered Sept. 21-23, he said. In total, DLA Troop Support worked with four different vendors to procure the 806,000 meals for the six food banks over a three-day period, he said.
The commercial shelf-stable meals contain easy-open items in pouches or pop-top cans and do not require a heating element, Streibich said. Each meal serves one person.
After DLA Troop Support worked with contracted vendors on basic ordering agreements, everything was turned over to DLA Distribution, he said.
“None of this can happen without DLA Distribution,” he said. “We worked hand-in-hand with them. It’s not going to happen if not for them.”
DLA Troop Support created a schedule for meal pickups with its vendors, which was then sent to DLA Distribution, Streibich said.
While making these deliveries, there were no delays due to storm damage or driver availability, said David Gizenski, division chief for Transportation Support Operations at DLA Distribution. The agency also has a dedicated carrier contracted for such emergency events.
“As soon as we started to get an inkling that we were going to deliver meals to these food banks, we reached out to [our contractor],” Gizenski said.
Drivers followed COVID-19 precautions, complying at both vendor and delivery locations, he said.
“[DLA Distribution] schedules all the trucks, all the pickups, and make sure the meals get to their destination, so it’s really a team effort and two prongs of support,” Streibich said.
It is “imperative” that DLA’s major subordinate commands work together to serve customers and fulfill orders in a short time span, Gizenski said.
“Harry and I were talking daily during the week leading up [to the delivery], and the week of to make sure we had the right contacts that Troop Support was working with their vendors to make sure we were talking to the right people so we could get the drivers scheduled at the right locations,” he said.