If ever there was a year when kindness was desperately needed, surely 2020 is it, and Million Dollar Vegan has worked throughout the holidays to make sure the year ends with positivity, compassion and love.
Rappers for Justice
In France, award-winning freestyle rap artist and social justice activist Res Turner, helped by a dozen wonderful volunteers, led our vegan food giveaway for the homeless in the southern city of Nice. Together, they handed out over 100 meals and sanitary kits to people in very precarious situations.
The food was prepared by the Master Chef Willy Berton, whose restaurant Vegan Gorilla was recently awarded a “Bib Gourmand” in the renowned Michelin Guide. His amazing hot dish was a mushroom “blanquette” (ragout) with fresh vegetables, served with a herbed polenta purée. It was as delicious as it sounds, and very much appreciated.
One Thousand Kilos of Compassion
At the beginning of December, our Spanish team donated 1,000 kilos of plant-based foods to local charities: community hub Beashawear in Lavapiés; El Valle Encantado animal sanctuary; the association Nada es Imposible in Málaga; and the Madrid Food Bank. Since the beginning of the pandemic and the first lockdown, demand for aid from the Food Bank has grown unceasingly, and it is estimated that 145,000 people are now seeking aid each day in the city. We hope we have been able to relieve some of their stress and worry during this difficult time.
Tricycling Our Way to Good Cheer
Shortly before Christmas, our Mexican team rode tricycles around Playa del Carmen, giving out 300 vegan burgers to vulnerable communities where many children live. The burgers were made by new vegan business Corazon Contento and they proved to be very popular! Not only were we able to take fantastic food to those who needed it most, and bring a little cheer at the same time, we also created quite a stir in the city with passers-by stopping to photograph our fabulous food-laden tricycles.
A Gift for the Homeless of Madrid
On December 12, in the soup kitchen run by the Servants of Jesus in Vallecas, we distributed 750 hot vegan Christmas meals to those in need in the Spanish capital. The menu was made up of tempeh and quinoa croquettes, a plant-based meat, pumpkin and mushroom pie, followed by gingerbread and King’s Cake, all prepared by three restaurants in the capital.
Christmas Eve Cookies
On Christmas Eve, volunteers at vegan community center Casa Animal distributed 500 meals to those in need in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The team also prepared 90 liters of traditional Christmas drink Ponche Navideño and packed 1,000 chocolate chip cookies for people to take away with them.
They also gave out a small booklet, “Guide to Changing your Life” which contained information about veganism, pandemics, health and animals. The guide was illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda who is known for her beautiful storybooks for children.
Bringing Some Joy for the Holidays
In Argentina, we distributed 160 meals to those in need, making sure it was delicious, fresh, and seasonal. Pan dulce is a traditional fruit cake eaten at Christmas, and we were delighted to create a vegan version of this much-loved sweet and to bring a little Christmas cheer.
Jacqueline Guzmán, Million Dollar Vegan’s Argentina Campaign Manager, coordinated the event. She told us: “Around the holidays, those who live in vulnerable situations keep on struggling to have enough food to put on the table, and the animals who live under horrific conditions due to our unjust food system keep on suffering. Therefore, more than ever we believe that it is a matter of urgency to assist families in need with affordable and nutritious food that can also help prevent the next pandemic and which is kind to all sentient beings.”
On Christmas day, fifteen volunteers met near the Paris Opera to bring some relief to the homeless people living in the center of the capital city. These beautiful souls distributed French pastries made by Land&Monkeys, hot drinks, pet food and hygiene products to over 50 people.
Seasonal Kindness to the Young and the Old
In Cancun, Mexico we worked with much-loved television personality Marco Antonio Regil to deliver 1,000 meals to nursing homes and orphanages across the city. Two local restaurants, Bao Vegan and Antojito con Amor prepared the meals for this collaboration between Million Dollar Vegan and a governmental institution for social development.
Thank you to everyone who has supported our work in 2020 – a year that none of us will forget. We hope we have been able to provide some small comfort to the most vulnerable and, as this year draws to an end, we are renewing our commitment to providing one million plant-based meals to people in need by the end of 2021. In our view, it’s always the season to show kindness.