Taking Pandemics Off the Menu this Winter

Vegan Food Aid Los Angeles

Our work to donate one million meals to those in need has continued throughout the winter months. Just in the past few weeks, we have worked alongside charities, and vegan restaurants and caterers in the United States, Mexico, France and Italy to get food to those who need it most. We’re so grateful to all the volunteers who have given their time to help us as we work to fulfil our pledge.

The Los Angeles Food Train

As 2020 drew to a close, a train of vegan cyclists travelled more than 10 miles around LA to deliver 1,000 meals to those in need. Partnering with Sugar Taco, The Concierge Kitchen, Veggie Grill, and Voodoo Vegan (for the food), and Bikes & Hikes LA (for the bikes), the train delivered mock-chicken and mock-beef burritos, truffle mac & cheeze, Mediterranean falafel wraps, and Creole-style sausage, rice & bean bowls.

The eye-catching initiative was supported by Hollywood actress Alicia Silverstone, Grammy-award winning singer Mýa, wrestling champion Ryback Reeves, musician Moby, Olympian Dustin Watten, Shark Week host Paul de Gelder, and plant-based medical experts Dr. Angie Sadeghi and Dr. Kim Williams.

The food train travelled to The Hollywood Food Coalition (a shelter kitchen feeding hundreds of LA’s homeless every night); Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center; Southern California Hospital (where we took food to hardworking doctors and staff); Project Angel Food (where we looked after food relief workers); and to The TransLatina Coalition.

Million Dollar Vegan’s CEO Naomi Hallum, who coordinated the food train, said: “We wanted to make sure that we reached people who may otherwise go hungry, as well as essential workers who, unlike the majority of us, don’t necessarily get to spend the holidays at home with their families. We wanted them to know they were appreciated and felt cared for, too.”

Helping the Vulnerable in Guadalajara

In Mexico, six volunteers prepared and delivered 380 soybean pastor tortas to the people outside the civil hospital in Guadalajara. Here, relatives of those who have been hospitalized gather but they often have nowhere to stay and nothing to eat while they wait to see their loved ones. Some have no choice but to sleep in the park or streets around the hospital and they rely on others to give them something to eat. We were glad to be able to provide something nutritious for them at this most difficult time in their lives.

Feeding Children in the Lost City

Our team of volunteers in Guadalajara also delivered lunch to the children who live in the “lost city” – a community where some of the most underprivileged people live. Ana Carranza, the coordinator of the Guadalajara actions, told us: “Let’s never deny the opportunity to help. Feeding ourselves is a human right and should not only be the privilege of a few. If we have the possibility to choose what to eat, we should do it with conscience. Remember that pandemics have resulted from consuming animals. If we also have the privilege of being able to help, we should not hesitate to do so.”

Supporting Women Campaigning for Their Rights

We are currently delivering daily vegan meals to the members of the Red Feminista Quintanarroense (Quintana Roo Feminist Network) who have been peacefully protesting inside the facilities of the State Congress since November 27th 2020. They are asking for the fulfillment of a petition focused on legislative actions in favor of women, including the requirement to pass the proposal that would decriminalize abortion in Quintana Roo.

The government has cut their services of electricity and water, which has made it very difficult for the women to be able to cook, and we are glad to support them by delivering 10 meals per day for 10 days.

Helping Refugees in Bordeaux

At the start of the year, our team of volunteers in France was able to bring enough food supplies to prepare 1,000 meals for Sahrawi refugees who are seeking political asylum in France. The Sahrawi refugee crisis is one of the longest and most protracted in the world, now entering its 46th year. Three hundred refugees have settled in Bordeaux in western France where they live in cramped accommodation. Some children have no beds, and not everyone can refrigerate food. We were able to supply tinned foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as hygiene items such as toilet paper to this community.

Michan, spokesperson for the Sahrawi refugees in Bordeaux told us what it meant to him and his community: “This aid arrives at the right time because we are in desperate need of food at the moment.”

Supporting the Homeless of Florence

Winter is a particularly difficult period for those without homes and during a pandemic, things become so much harder. That’s why this month in Italy we partnered with vegan restaurant Nirvana, the vegan advocacy group Vivere Vegan and the charity Associazione Ronda della Carità. With Covid restrictions, the community centre’s own canteen was forced to close, leaving already vulnerable people without hot food.

The meals we provided were delicious, nutritious, warming and filling, consisting of a pasta dish, a second main meal with a side, some bread, a dessert and some herbal tea.

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