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Delaware North Companies Dedicates Second New Orleans Habitat for Humanity Home

Dedication ceremony signifies new start for New Orleans family. Mater Chef Roland Henin prepares first meal for family in its new home.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (Sept. 30, 2009) – In a continued effort to repair and rebuild the New Orleans community post-Katrina, Delaware North Companies, a global leader in hospitality and one of the largest privately held companies in North America, participated in a New Orleans Habitat for Humanity dedication ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 30. The event was a celebration of the construction of a brand-new home, the second Delaware North Companies-sponsored home in the New Orleans area post-Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans native Theresa Parker owns the home. Her young children, Marcus and Mya, live with her. “To Delaware North, AmeriCorps and all the sweet people that make this program possible for families like mine, I say thank you,” stated Parker. “You are truly making dreams come true.”

In a final welcoming gift to the Parker family, Master Chef Roland G. Henin prepared a special meal in the new home. Henin serves as executive chef and chief culinary ambassador of global hospitality for Delaware North Companies. One of the most well-known chefs and culinary coaches and educators in America, he is one of only 60 or so certified master chefs in the United States. The family-friendly meal consisted of an appetizer of Spicy Ginger Shrimp on Cucumber Salad, an entrée of Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce and seasonal vegetables, and flaming Bananas Foster for dessert. Henin worked closely with Parker on the menu. Delaware North staff members worked for weeks to prepare the event, even shopping for special linens and dishes that would complement the new kitchen.

img_0082-8227897Earlier in the day, Habitat for Humanity held its traditional dedication ceremony with family members, sponsors and volunteers in attendance. After brief speeches and a blessing, the group enjoyed cake and soft drinks.

Matt King, vice president of Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, was present at the dedication event to honor the work of the organization and the volunteers. “We are grateful that Delaware North could make a difference in this wonderful community and in the lives of the two families living in these homes,” he said.

A global leader in hospitality and food service, Delaware North announced its partnership with New Orleans Habitat for Humanity and its commitment to the project on the first anniversary of the Katrina hurricane in 2006. Three years later, Delaware North Companies and Habitat volunteers have turned that dream into a reality by concentrating on construction plans and implementing a work schedule that has resulted in the successful completion of two new homes.

In the fall of 2008, New Orleans natives Edward and Melody Ross become the proud owners of the first home completed with Delaware North funds. The Rosses, who lost everything they owned because of the disaster, worked with their two daughters and grandson, as well as Habitat volunteers for months to build the home alongside.

“New Orleans Habitat exists because of the generosity of our donors and the perseverance of our partner families,” stated Jim Pate, executive director of New Orleans Habitat for Humanity. “Delaware North Companies and the Parkers have developed a strong partnership that has resulted in a home and a friendship that will last as long as the home.”

“We’re proud to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of the New Orleans area,” King said. “The best part of the ceremony was meeting the family. They have a wonderful spirit and determination that will only further contribute to the success of the area and ongoing efforts to rebuild it.”

Delaware North witnessed firsthand the devastation that left many New Orleans residents homeless when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, home to Delaware North operations at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Delaware North and its associates immediately responded to the crisis by establishing Delaware North Companies KARE (Katrina Associate Relief Effort), a foundation designed to assist Delaware North employees with their immediate needs, including shelter, food and clothing.

Donations poured in from associates, partners, suppliers and even customers. In total, the company raised more than $300,000, and matched donations dollar for dollar. Money went to affected associates with remaining funds donated to New Orleans Habitat for Humanity and New Orleans Kids Café. Kids Café is part of a nationwide program sponsored by Second Harvest, one of the nation’s largest food relief organizations.

In addition to KARE, the company prepared in excess of 25,000 meals for refugees and relief workers housed at the airport during and immediately after the storm.