Taking Pandemics Off The Menu. Week 2 of Million Dollar Vegan’s $100,000 Food Giveaway

Last week, our international team coordinated vegan food give-aways in six countries across America and Europe, and we’re not finished yet. This week, we have been able to provide and distribute delicious healthy plant-based meals to those in need in Mexico, Brazil and Italy.

Mexico

Our work in Mexico continued as we delivered plant-based food to people in vulnerable situations in Playa del Carmen, Saltillo, Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara and Los Cabos. This has involved some impressive teamwork with grassroots organizations, restaurants, and volunteers coordinating their efforts to help those in need.

In Playa del Carmen we continue to deliver 300 meals a day at the soup kitchen totalling 1,740 meals. Vulnerable people in Saltillo and Los Cabos received 300 meals and in Guadalajara, with the support of three vegan restaurants, 400 meals were distributed among people who work on the street. In Mexico City, 500 meals were taken to a shelter for homeless children and to 35 food banks in the Nezahualcóyotl neighborhood. In Monterrey, we partnered with seven vegan restaurants to provide and distribute 750 meals to two migrant shelters, to unemployed people from the trans community and to communities of native people in a marginalized area.

The work has been so successful that it has inspired local volunteers to commit to continuing this ‘beautiful act of giving’ into the future.

Brazil

This week, actress and vegan activist Luisa Mell joined our Brazilian volunteers to help distribute more than 700 meals to those in need in Largo São Francisco.

Working in conjunction with Solidariedade Vegan (a project that distributes vegan food in the center of São Paulo), Pimp My Carroça (a non-profit that helps people who make a living selling trash for recycling centers), and monks from a Franciscan mission, we were able to distribute food to those who are homeless in this city centre area.

Our Brazilian coordinator, Isabel told us: ‘When we arrived, the line of people waiting for food was huge….so many people and so many different types of people. It breaks my heart to see how many are living in such a vulnerable situation.

Along with the food, volunteers distributed our educational leaflet, which explained that the meal they were receiving was vegan and why this is important for health and to minimise the risk of future pandemics.

Viviana Torrico from Solidariedade Vegan told us this event had had a significant impact. ‘Many people told the monks that the food was wonderful,’ she said. ‘And when Luisa is part of a project it helps everybody. We even received additional donations of hand sanitizer and more food.’

Luisa Mell told us she was ‘very moved’ to be part of this project. ‘I believe that this is the only thing that can save the world. We need to make people aware how to take pandemics off the menu so we don’t have to face other tragedies like coronavirus. And we can only do that by changing our diets. Thank you, Million Dollar Vegan!

ITALY

As one of the countries hardest hit by coronavirus, medics and social care teams have been working tirelessly to try and keep people safe and well. We’re delighted to be able to support those teams in their vital work by creating and delivering 9 days’ worth of lunches to the mobile units that visit vulnerable people isolated in their homes in Turin.

We were also able to support workers in the task force operations unit and those in the call centre who are tasked with tracking and tracing contacts of those infected with the virus.

To do this, we partnered with Luca André, founder, owner and chef at SoulKitchen. He told us why he was so keen to join our #TakePandemicsOffTheMenu campaign. He said: ‘Food can no longer be considered just food. It is something much more profound and really revolutionary.’

Our work in Italy is just beginning. Next week, we will be delivering food to nurses working in one of Turin’s busiest hospitals and later to the most vulnerable families, including refugees, who are living in Lombardy.

And There Is Much More To Come

While our work to help those in need is well underway, there is much more to come, including helping those in slum communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as desperate families in Pune, India and schoolchildren in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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