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'Hogs for the Cause' leaders worry about their future as the fest is canceled due to COVID

“It’s a really scary time for us. I’ve got to be very candid about that for us at Hogs. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to survive this."

NEW ORLEANS — It’s a New Orleans festival known for bringing food and community to the same table, but because of the ongoing pandemic Hogs for the Cause could once again get chopped from the calendar this year. 

“It’s just a very fluid situation right now,” said festival co-founder Becker Hall.

The fundraising festival, which happens in early Spring serves up barbecue with a side of financial help for families with children who battling brain cancer. 

“In the last 12 years we went from one pig and one family to helping families in 48 states,” said Hall.

Locally, over the last 12 years about $500,000 in direct grants have been given to more than 200 families in the New Orleans community.  Hall says not having the festival two years in a row, jeopardizes that mission. 

“It’s a really scary time for us. I’ve got to be very candid about that for us at Hogs. We don’t know if we’re going to be able to survive this if we can’t have another festival,” said Hall.

Children’s Hospital New Orleans is one of the festival’s partners. 

“Partners like Hogs for the Cause are critical to our mission here at Children’s Hospital,” said Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Brouk.

Brouk said the hospital will still be able to provide services. Without those direct grants for families though, financial burdens become heavier.  

“Pediatric cancer is a big burden, certainly on a family who has to go through that sort of extended course of treatment for their child,” said Brouk.

Hogs even made a $2 million commitment for a family center at Children’s Hospital to provide housing for patient families. With uncertainty for the festival, Hall said the organization is looking at other options, because one thing is certain, the need. 

“The demand for what we’re doing has somehow grown two times than where we were at this time last year.  We’re looking at about 20 grant applications a week,” said Hall.

It’s that need that makes this festival more appetizing. 

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