In Solidarity with Unhoused People at Christmas
In Sète, in southern France, Million Dollar Vegan funded 20 vegan parcels that were delivered to unhoused people and families experiencing poverty on Christmas Eve. This was in support of the fifth “ShoeBox Vegan” initiative, coordinated by two local charities, Alliance Éthique and Les Amoureux de la Vie Solidarité SDF. Cyril Vaucelle from Alliance Éthique explained: “This is about proposing an act of generosity with people in need without harming the animals.”
Inside each of the parcels – shoeboxes wrapped in Christmas gift paper – was a warm piece of clothing, five vegan food items, a beverage, a sweet treat, and a greeting card. Volunteers also distributed hot drinks made with almond milk, plant-based cookies, and homemade makrouts – a North African cookie made with dates and almonds.
Flavien Bascoul, from Million Dollar Vegan France said: “This action on Christmas Eve aimed to bring some relief to the most vulnerable people in the city. While we may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the extent of suffering around us, we must bear in mind how precious every gesture of compassion is. This is why we are so appreciative of the benevolent efforts of the team of volunteers in Sète who are helping to build a kinder world.”
Our Three-Month Guided Vegan Project in Mexico
This month, our 12-week guided vegan project in Playa del Carmen came to an end. Fourteen participants took part in this personalized, free, face-to-face initiative. With the help of nutritionists, workshops, cooking classes, and a dedicated Facebook group, they learned about food and nutrition, the sustainability of plant-based diets, how to read labels and veganize dishes, and how to live in a non-vegan world. It was an incredibly positive experience, with some of the feedback received revealing how life-changing this project was.
“It’s amazing the way I feel about eating without someone on my plate, I definitely feel happier and more comfortable. What a wonderful experience to have been part of this project, I have learned a lot and what a pleasure to see that we are many people who think alike and work for a more just world, thank you all for everything!” – Amy Carmona
“Bringing together such compassionate and wise women to make community and encourage loving and informed vegan practices was the nicest thing about the #GoVeganWithMDV project. I felt so cared for and loved the whole process. 💚” – Michelle Rozenmuten
“Grateful for this beautiful project. Delicious meals and great information, definitely made a big change in my life! Thank you for so much support and so much love!” – Valeria Gonzalez
“This experience has been an adventure, I have felt better than ever, besides feeling better physically and performing better in exercise, my mood has changed and I no longer have the stress and anger that often beat me.” – Karla Martinez
Says Project Coordinator, Jessica Gonzalez Castro of Million Dollar Vegan, “This has definitely been one of the most satisfying projects I have had the pleasure of creating. I learned from my fellow nutritionists Samantha Robertos, Elisa Cervantes and Michelle Aguilar, and from all the people who made the decision to change their habits. Some people have even inspired others to try vegan food. Many also commented that they noticed changes in increased energy and reduced stress, and some are now even activists for animal liberation.”
Sharing Vegan Meals with Unhoused People in Buenos Aires
Throughout the month, our Argentina campaign manager Jacqueline Guzmán, with a team of volunteers, continued to support soup kitchens as they transitioned to providing only plant-based foods. This is not only a healthy and inclusive way to offer meals across the community, it is also cheaper, which means more people can be supported.
Jacqueline also started working with a new soup kitchen, supporting them in the construction of a community garden within the neighborhood. She shared with them a garden workshop for children, which was delivered by Consciente Colectivo, an organization that fights for food sovereignty, social, and environmental justice. The project has been a huge success, with local families really enjoying the food, interested to learn more about veganism, and excited to assist in our vegan kitchen workshops.
To celebrate the end of the year, and all the actions undertaken in 2021 to bring the concept of veganism closer to vulnerable communities, we shared 400 vegan choripanes – chorizo sandwiches – as we hosted activities and games for children.
Our work in Argentina, as elsewhere, is reliant on wonderful volunteers, local organizations, and all the individuals and families who participate. As a thank you, we were delighted to share 60 Christmas goody bags to ensure people could have delicious vegan options at their Christmas table this year.
Supporting a Sustainable Christmas Market in Barcelona
In December, we joined forces with Alaya Market in Barcelona to bring non-vegan people into contact with delicious vegan food, and to help raise money for two local animal sanctuaries.
Million Dollar Vegan worked with companies like Heura to donate roasted pepper hummus with vegetable crudites, and cream of pumpkin, leek and potato soup. Over three days, we provided 240 meals to guests visiting the market.
“Alaya,” roughly translated from the Buddhist meaning means “abode of consciousness”, and the purpose of Alaya Market is to make Christmas more sustainable and ethical. Alongside vegan foods, second-hand clothes were for sale, with money raised benefiting animals who have been rescued by two important local sanctuaries.
The event – which presents itself as a sustainable alternative in the face of one of the periods of highest consumption – sought to highlight the urgency in changing our consumerist habits to protect non-human animals and the planet. It was organized by actress Clara Lago, Lorena Izquierdo (from Be Clever Be Vegan), Jenny Rodriguez (content creator and vegan activist) and Raquel Oliveira (event organizer and photographer).
Says Clara Lago: “Without a doubt, this action has been transformative, the proof that a small group of dedicated people can catalyze the movement towards a more ethical style of consumption that is compassionate and sustainable.”
A Christmas Gift for Frontline Staff in California
On Christmas Eve, Million Dollar Vegan partnered with Modern Times, a popular plant-based restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara, CA, in order to provide hundreds of freshly prepared ‘Munchwraps’ to the hospital staff, firefighters, and shop workers tirelessly supporting us through the holidays, in gratitude for all they do, and as part of our pledge to donate one million meals worldwide.
The ‘Munchwrap’ – a warm flour tortilla wrap made with Seasoned Impossible Taco Mix, coconut queso, chipotle crema, lettuce, pico de gallo, and cashew sour cream – is one of the most popular items on the Modern Times menu, and was distributed not only as a holiday gesture, but also to show how delicious a plant-based meal can be, and to hopefully inspire people to consume more of them!
In addition to wraps, we handed out free-product vouchers from vegan cheese brand Miyoko’s Creamery that could be exchanged at local supermarkets. The demand for plant-based dairy alternatives has soared over recent years, with health-related concerns such as allergies to milk and lactose intolerance, as well as consumers’ growing concerns for animal welfare, and reducing their impact on the planet, all playing a vital role.
Million Dollar Vegan hopes to inspire people to eat fewer animal products and more plant-based foods for a variety of reasons. To do this, we’re sharing both meals and information on the many benefits of a vegan lifestyle, while also demonstrating that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring.
Says Naomi Hallum, CEO of Million Dollar Vegan who coordinated this action: “Eating a plant-based diet has been shown to improve overall health and reduce our risk of numerous chronic diseases. According to studies, it’s also the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on planet Earth because it delivers far better environmental benefits than cutting down on flights or buying an electric car. It’s relatively easy to make small changes to our diets that have a big impact on both our health and the planet, but we hope that by handing out free meals and information on veganism this holiday season, we can make it even easier!”
Showcasing Vegan Food in Playa del Carmen
This month, we also donated 100 meals to visitors to the Vegan Playa Festival, which we bought from local vegan businesses in order to support them through these difficult times. The businesses included the much-loved Fritxs, Milanexas Canek, It’s a Bagel, Mr. Tofu, Combi Vegan and Ellies Vegan Bakery, all of whom were attending the event.
The festival is an amazing opportunity to show non-vegans how great plant-based food is. This month, the organizers welcomed 600 people to the event, with around 40 percent of them not yet vegan.
Plant-Based Meals for Bolivia’s Shoe-Shiners
This month, our friend and partner Matilde Nuñez del Prado Alanes coordinated an action in support of 50 shoe-shiners in La Paz, Bolivia. There, we gave each person bags of nutritious, vegan food, including quinoa, lentils, wheat, soy milk, rice and noodles, and talked about how to prepare rich, nutritious and inexpensive dishes using these items.
As we chatted with them we also shared a vegan hot chocolate and alfajores – delicious traditional shortbreads, made vegan. The hot chocolate was made by Lupito – Cocina Vegana using coconut milk, soy milk, and organic pure chocolate, while the vegan alfajores were made by Lecker Brot, a local vegan bakery. All the attendees loved it!
Says Matilde: “We had the help of volunteers from Personas Encerradas Pero Solidarias and Alianza Animalista La Paz, while Luisa from Lupito lent us the space without hesitation. We are very happy and grateful to all the people who participated in this activity, especially the shoe-shiners for showing so much interest.”