From Des Moines to Delhi, the Million Dollar team took to the streets to showcase just how tasty and accessible vegan food can be.
Showcasing Plant-based Affordability in Argentina
Throughout July, the team in Argentina worked with five different soup kitchens to create delicious, affordable and nourishing meals – all checked by a team of nutritionists. The meals included: lentil stew with vegan chorizo, feijoada (black bean stew), vegan cheese buns, vegan ham and cheese sandwiches, spaghetti, quinoa bowls, cookies, and coconut pies.
In Argentina, where around one third of the population lives below the poverty line, it is essential to show that vegan food is affordable, and so – along with the food – we distributed recipes and a handy vegan cooking guide.
Million Dollar Vegan’s chef, Gabriella told us: “We do this in order to debunk the myth that veganism can only be accessible for those who can afford it and offer information and alternatives based on the recipients’ life conditions. We find that everyone is eager to learn about a healthier and cheaper way of eating and we are glad that people find the meals we cook delicious!”
Serving Schoolchildren in Kenya
Our Kenya Campaign Manager, Jack Lekishon, has this month arranged 15,000 meals for the 374 children attending two Maasai schools: the Talek Vision Vegan School and the Mara Valley Vegan School. We provided a traditional and nutritious plant-based breakfast and lunch for the kids every day they attended classes.
Says Jack: “Providing nutritious vegan meals for children not only helps them grow up to be strong and healthy, but it also lowers their risk of developing obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Serving plant-based meals in schools also helps establish a foundation for healthy eating habits and nutritional knowledge that a child can apply throughout their life.”
Helping Covid-hit Families in Delhi
Throughout July, we donated around 9,600 meals in the form of dry food rations to struggling families in Delhi in partnership with CHETNA, an organization working with street children and their families.
Says Pooja Singh of CHETNA: “The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have affected us in many ways, but it has affected the poor and the marginalized sections of society the most. It has resulted in an economic crisis, resulting in the loss of livelihoods of daily wage workers and migrant laborers, and street-connected families. We are on a mission to combat the scarcity of food by delivering rations to families in need. With the support of MDV, we have provided 100 ration packs to 100 households which include 206 adults and 332 children, helping bring some relief in their lives.”
Supporting Victims of Flooding in Guadalajara
The impacts of climate change can be seen all around the world, including this month in Zapopan in central Mexico where more than 300 houses were flooded when El Seco burst its banks. Many families lost everything.
With the help of volunteers, Million Dollar Vegan cooked a hot meal for the 100 people Temporarily staying at a local shelter. A huge thank you to everyone who acted so fast to provide both practical support and compassion to those in such a desperate situation.
Helping Those in Vulnerable Conditions in Brasilia
This month, we were proud to partner with activists Vitor Avila, known as Vegano Vitor, and Raphael Sebba who organized an action in the Miguel Lobato community, 30km away from Brasilia’s city center. Movimenta and Projeto Dividir distributed the equivalent of 700 meals in plant-based packs, which included rice, beans, corn flour, cassava flour, tomato sauce, pasta, and cooking oil. The people living in this community routinely struggle to make ends meet, as they receive little or no state or government support.
Vitor said: “The day of the food giveaway was very special. The families who received the food bags were tremendously grateful. I was so happy to know that they will not be hungry for the next few weeks. This work is extremely fulfilling. I hope to be able to do more of this type of action in the future.”
Sharing the Love in Pune
This month, we delivered food ration kits to 100 families from an underserved area including to people from the Kinnar (transgender) community. This amounts to 6000 meals. We partnered with Mrs Archana Patil, President of the Women’s Wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Pune city.
At the event, Archana Patil told the women present: “After doing a few of these food distribution programs with Million Dollar Vegan India, I have reduced my meat and dairy consumption considerably though I haven’t gone completely vegan yet, and I urge all of you to do this step by step, too. The MDV Campaign Manager has shared very valuable information with us.”
Providing Top Class Nachos to the Women of Des Moines
This month we donated 80 meals to women at House of Mercy in Des Moines, Iowa. We partnered with vegan food truck Veggie Thumper and VegLife Des Moines to distribute BBQ “chick’n” nachos, which the women raved were far superior to their normal cafeteria fare. There was much excitement to try vegan food and multiple people came back after they ate to grab vegan recipe books! House of Mercy has dedicated itself to making the community a healthier place by providing quality substance use disorder treatment and mental health programs to individuals and families in need of these services. We were proud to support them.
A Big Thank You to Healthcare Staff in Leipzig…
Around the world, the dedication of healthcare personnel to the wellbeing of their communities has been humbling, and we are proud to offer them a small token of our appreciation with a tasty, hot meal. This time, we teamed up with Pro-Lebensglück e.V., a local registered animal rights’ association, for our second food giveaway in Germany. In all, we gave Vöner (aka. vegan Döner), made by local restaurant Vleischerei to each of the 300 hospital employees.
Dirk Herrmann, Diakonissen Hospital CEO personally thanked our volunteers: “I would like to thank Million Dollar Vegan and Pro-Lebensglück e.V. for the great action in our hospital with free vegan food for our employees.”
… And to the Covid Wards and Vaccination Center in Pune
Working with Dr Neelambika and Dr Alpana Moghe of Phytofine Rich Foods, we delivered 1,000 delicious breakfast meals to frontline workers on the Covid wards and in the vaccination center at Smt. Kashibai Navale Medical College and General Hospital in Pune.
The response was amazing and the hospital dietician, Mrs Akshata told us: “Thank you Million Dollar Vegan India. Breakfast was really good. The recipes are so innovative and creatively cooked.” They must have been really good, as we received multiple requests to repeat some of the dishes!
Firing Up the Grill for Independence Day, USA
To celebrate July 4th, we hosted an outdoor BBQ for a local community of non-vegans in Des Moines, Iowa, to give people a taste of delicious plant-based burgers and hotdogs. More than 100 people came along, tried the food, and had a great time. Our hope is that this will inspire our guests to make their Independence Day BBQs more compassionate going forward. Amy Luebbert of VegLife Des Moines, who coordinated the event, was happy: ‘It was a big hit!” she told us.
Celebrating Life’s Sweetness in Madrid
It certainly is nice to be nice, and so this World Chocolate Day, we teamed up with Freedom Cakes to give away 160 lunches of savoury waffles with vegan chicken, and a slice of beautiful chocolate cake to anyone who wanted it!
Isabel Izquierdo Palomares, co-proprietor of Freedom Cakes was delighted to be part of this positive action. She said: “It’s an opportunity to reach a public we normally wouldn’t but since it’s free people are more willing to try it without prejudice. We’re pioneers in vegan baking and we’re taking advantage of the auspicious World Chocolate Day to let people try sweets and chocolate made with 100% plant-based chocolate.”
Hosting a Community Dinner in Wales
Towards the end of the month, we partnered with Wild Things Café in Cardiff and invited local residents to come and try some vibrant vegan food in the beautiful café garden. The menu included green olive tapenade with seeded crusty bread, roasted Baharat cauliflower on a bed of herby puy lentils, all served with new potatoes, tahini yogurt and courgette ribbons in a sherry dressing. There was also a seasonal salad of rocket, chicory and lemon, a plum and cardamom puff tart for dessert, and some delicious blueberry and mint lemonade.
Says Million Dollar Vegan UK Manager, Joe Stratton: “It’s a real pleasure to support this Wild Thing Café community dinner. The food they serve is amazing, and everyone who came said how much they loved it. They say you can’t get something for nothing, but we’ve shown in Cardiff at least, that’s not true! And we hope the food inspired our guests to try more plant-based meals in the future.”
Taking Burritos to the Magical Mountain City
In Mexico this month, we teamed up with Miguel Soria and his travelling Holy Van, as well as activists in Chiapas, to take delicious burritos out onto the streets.
San Cristobal de las Casas is one of the country’s Pueblos Mágicos (magic towns) – it’s a city rich in natural beauty, culture, history and tradition but veganism is not common there. This action was intended to inform people about the benefits of a plant-based diet and showcase vegan foods.
Miguel Soria, who is travelling the country to advocate for veganism, said: “The people who received the food were surprised by the taste; they thought vegan food was bland and boring. Breaking that paradigm and taking the opportunity to share information about veganism is a great way to activate for other animals.”