This month we are proud to have provided thousands of nutritious plant-based meals to people around the world, including families suffering in Palestine, orphans in Kenya, senior citizens in India, indigenous women in Argentina, medical staff in Hungary, students in France and to a soup kitchen helping those in need in Mexico. This means we have now donated around 400,000 vegan meals since the pandemic began.
Feeding Displaced Families in Gaza
With the conflict escalating and families in desperate need, we partnered with Palestinian vegan organization Plant The Land. This vegan food justice and community project was founded by Anas Arafat, a Gazan law student and long-time humanitarian aid activist, and Laura Schleifer, a Jewish American vegan, and a Free Palestine solidarity activist. The Plant the Land Team buys and distributes vegan food, plants food forests, and provides Gazan farmers with seeds and planting tools. Their dedication and experience made them the perfect people to work with as we donated 3,500 meals to displaced families in Gaza. We were able to provide boxes of fresh vegetables, fruit, rice, beans, hummus and bread – sufficient to feed 100 families for about 10 days.
Anyone wishing to support this initiative themselves can donate directly to Plant The Land.
Thousands of Meals to Children in Kenya
This month, we donated 7,500 meals to children at the Talek Academy School in Talek, Maasai Mara. Through our friend and partner Jack Lekishon, we supplied maize flour, rice, maize-grains (Getheri), beans, cooking oils, fruits (watermelon and oranges), green vegetables (cabbages and sukuma wiki), onions and tomatoes.
Jack tells us: “This school hosts both orphans and those that are not orphans but the Covid19 pandemic crisis has put everyone under one level when facing food insecurity. Thanks to MDV, lots of food has just been dropped off!”
We couldn’t be happier to help, Jack!
Anyone wishing to support Jack and the families of Maasai Mara can donate to his food aid fundraiser.
Supporting Senior Citizens in Mumbai
With India reeling under the second wave of Covid-19, our India team immediately came forward to help by donating 2,000 meals through Earth Café in Bandra, Mumbai, to people impacted by the strict lockdown. Many senior citizens living alone found themselves unable to access food as there was no help available and they were too frail to cook for themselves. The vegan café cooked and delivered more than 150 meals every day not only to this community but also to those who could no longer earn their daily wages.
Serving the Underserved in Mumbai
As part of our pledge to donate over 100,000 meals in India, we teamed up with singer songwriter Neha Bhasin of Zee TV fame and Animal Save India to deliver 1,500 meals, cooked by Earth Café, to underserved communities in Mumbai. We were honored that Neha chose to deliver these meals herself and she told us, “With India and the world being affected by COVID-19, I am delighted to support Million Dollar Vegan to deliver healthy plant-based meals and ration kits to those who are in need in India. It is really important for us to educate the public about the importance of plant-based food, because three quarters of all infectious diseases stem from animals. If we reduce or eliminate the use of animal products, we can take pandemics off the menu; and ultimately, a plant-based diet is better for our bodies, for our health and for the environment.”
Thank you Neha!
Supporting Indigenous Women in Buenos Aires
On May 22nd, hundreds of indigenous women from 36 different communities arrived at Buenos Aires after walking for thousands of kilometres. Their fight is against what they call “Earthcide”, a crime against nature and humanity. They’ve come to “light the sacred fire, defend their ancestral medicine and condemn the environmental damage caused by agrochemicals and mega-mining.” We supported their action by providing 50 delicious and nourishing vegan meat pies.
One of the “lamgen”, meaning “sister” in Mapuche language, said: “I think that healthy food made with love is the best gift to those who seek Good Living.”
To see their actions and what the indigenous communities have to share with us about their culture and their historical fight against discrimination and colonialism, follow @mmujeresindigenas.
A Vegan Eid-El-Fitr in Pune
Our team in Pune, Maharashtra teamed up with Saddiya Foundation that runs a school for orphan boys to deliver over 150 delicious Good Dot mock meat biryanis to underserved people in the Muslim community on Eid-ul-Fitr. So many people told us how much they enjoyed the meal and that they would not have guessed it wasn’t meat if they hadn’t been told. Our donation was doubly appreciated because of the strict lockdown and the surging number of Covid cases in the region.
Thanking Medical Staff in Hungary
All over the world, medical staff have risked their lives to protect ours, and we are always delighted to give a little something back. This time, we partnered with Raul Vida, founder of the most popular vegan Facebook page in Hungary, Csir Kevin, and the most-read vegan magazine, Prove.hu. Raul was joined by three more ethical vegans and together they delivered 120 vegan gyros bowls – with jackfruit, french fries, and salad – and a delicious cake with forest fruit compote to hospital medical staff. Reports from the frontline are that the food was very popular, and some of the staff were amazed that vegan food could be so delicious.
Veganizing a Soup Kitchen in Mexico
This month we finished “veganizing” another soup kitchen in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We donated everything they needed to make 120 vegan meals every day for a month, with the help of Samantha Robertos the chef and nutritionist. She was able to teach all the volunteers from this soup kitchen how to cook with cheap, easy and commonly found ingredients. Some of the volunteers are starting to cook plant-based meals at home now while others are even starting to sell plant-based meals in their communities.
Samantha told us: “I am very happy with this incredible experience, because both the people who went to cook and the people who came to eat every day, experienced new flavors, that maybe at first they thought they would not like it, but in the end, they ended up liking a lot. Even the children, who are more difficult about eating vegetables, were delighted with some of the meals we offered them. I feel very grateful to have been there, teaching people how to cook with plants. I also learned a lot from them, they made me feel part of their community.”
Celebrating Animal Week in Argentina
Every year on April 29th, Argentina celebrates National Animal Day where people usually celebrate dogs and cats, but which is, of course, a great opportunity to show how we can broaden our circle of compassion and consider all species.
And so our team in Argentina organised a whole week of actions. Along with four soup kitchens in Buenos Aires, we distributed 500 vegan cupcakes and vegan ham and cheese sandwiches with peanut chocolate milk for children, and we also made our very popular pot for 170 people – bean “milanesas” with mashed potatoes and salad.
Marcela, the soup kitchen’s coordinator, says: “We thank MDV for their cooperation and for sharing their knowledge with their neighbours. It is the way to take care of each other and the planet as our future depends on the actions and willingness of all of us.”
We gave away vegan kits for 100 families which had enough food for a week, including legumes, seeds, fruits and vegetables. We also provided a guide with meal plans and recipes, to show how nutritious, convenient and economical plant-based foods can be. We try to ensure that all the food we donate is agroecological, which is more just, healthy, chemical-free and sustainable for farmers and consumers.
Our Argentina manager Jacqueline explained: “Our goal is to help feed people during this tough socio-economic context, contribute to small local vegan food businesses, share relevant information about vegan cooking, and talk about the strong ethical, health and budget reasons behind this way of eating in order to make veganism accessible to all.”
Serving Students in Need in France
This month, we delivered food to students in need in the cities of Toulouse and Clermont-Ferrand.
In Toulouse, we partnered with Les Restos du Coeur and the volunteers of Toulouse Animal Save to deliver 50 kebabs, local fruit juices, and carrot cakes made by the vegan food truck À tord l’haricot. The conversations with the students were very positive and the whole team is excited to repeat the operation next month.
In Clermont-Ferrand, we partnered with the Fédération des Étudiants d’Auvergne to deliver 100 vegan meals to students in need. The action was coordinated by local activists Maryline Mathieu and Jérôme Arsac, who strongly believe that “to prevent the pandemics of tomorrow, it is urgent to rethink our consumption habits and to make our food plant-based.”
The food was provided by two restaurants, Air Puy and Vegan Madness, who prepared 50 Single Cheese Bacon Burgers and 50 Chic Kebabs Clermont-Ferrand, served with potatoes. Douglas Slater, the restaurants’ manager said: “I learned to cook in an ashram where I lived for six years and discovered the ‘ahimsa’ (non-violence in Sanskrit) way of life. Today, my mission is to share what I learned there and to show the world that it is possible to eat in harmony with the planet and all its inhabitants. Preparing meals for students is particularly close to my heart, because these young people are the future of our planet.”
Showing Compassion on our National Holiday in Argentina
May 25th is a National Holiday in Argentina, a day to commemorate the 1810 May Revolution which was the first revolution in the South American independence process from the Spanish colony.
The traditional meals eaten during this week are empanadas (savory pastries), locro (a stew that consists of beans and corn), churros (a sweet bun usually filled with “dulce de leche”) and pastelitos ( a small dough cake filled with quince paste). We want to show that we can eat the same things we love and have always eaten as part of our culture in a delicious, plant-based and compassionate way.
And so we served 350 vegan churros, pastelitos and empanadas to children in two soup kitchens in Buenos Aires, and we cooked popular pots of vegan locro for almost 700 people. We also partnered with Amigues por las calles (Friends on the streets), an organization that serves vegan meals to people who live on the streets. They said: “We thank MDV for their trust and support, and for helping us reach even more people in a socially vulnerable situation.”