A global nonprofit that promotes a vegan diet as a way to further public health and help the environment is planning to deliver 1,000 hot meals in Los Angeles Wednesday to essential workers, marginalized communities, youth centers, homes for the elderly and people in shelters.
Million Dollar Vegan says “The Great Vegan Meal Train” will feature an army of volunteers delivering meals on bicycles, who will be dressed in farm animal costumes for fun.
“This is the first time that we have decided to form a meal train so that cyclists can deliver large volumes of food to those that need it while staying socially distanced,” said Naomi Hallum, Million Dollar Vegan CEO. “We have done giveaways of a thousand meals before, but we wanted to make this one a little special because of the holidays, the time when people in need are often forgotten. We want to make sure that we are reaching out to people, 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.
“In addition to shelters, youth centers and the elderly, we’ll be delivering meals to hospital workers and other essential workers,” Hallum added.
The group is purchasing the meals from four local restaurants — Concierge Kitchen, Sugar Taco, Veggie Grill and Voodoo Vegan — and will deliver the food to several locations including the Hollywood Food Coalition, Southern California Hospital at Hollywood, Los Angeles LGBT Center, TransLatin@ Coalition, volunteers at Project Angel Food and two elderly living facilities in Hollywood Plaza.
The Great Vegan Meal Train is backed by celebrities, athletes and physicians including actress Alicia Silverstone, musicians Moby and Mya, WWE wrestler Ryback Reeves, Team USA Olympic volleyball player Dustin Watten, Dr. Angie Sadeghi and Dr. Kim Williams.
The plant-based meals being delivered will consist of creole-style red beans, sausage and rice bowls made by Voodoo Vegan, truffle mushroom mac N cheese from Concierge Kitchen, veggie burritos made by Sugar Taco and Mediterranean falafel wraps from Veggie Grill.
Million Dollar Vegan is currently engaged in a mission to deliver one million free meals by 2022. The organization advocates “taking pandemics off the menu” by adopting a vegan diet, along with providing education about the public health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
Part of the group’s aim is to bolster vegan businesses struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a terrible time for restaurants, too. We are not asking any of them to donate food and nobody can afford to do that during these difficult times,” Hallum said. “Our mission to deliver one million meals is also aimed at supporting restaurants and small businesses, buying food from them during a time when they’re struggling for business and taking it to people who wouldn’t normally have access to food like this.”
Million Dollar Vegan distributes free vegan starter kits and invites everyone to take the 31-day vegan challenge. Participants receive daily recipes, inspiration, health and nutritional information, videos, and other guidance and support during the challenge to help make the journey easy. Those interested can sign up at www.milliondollarvegan.com/go-vegan/.
In 2019, the group teamed with Sir Paul McCartney, Woody Harrelson and Joaquin Phoenix to challenge Pope Francis to fight climate change by going vegan for Lent in return for a $1 million donation to the charity of his choice. The pope declined the challenge, but gave the charity his blessing.