There is a growing number of people deciding to embrace a vegan lifestyle and as the number of vegans increases, so does the need for more inclusive food options. One may think of inclusive food options when it comes to restaurants and grocery stores, but it is important for food banks as well. A Black-owned Los Angeles-based food bank has decided to diversify the selections offered to the homeless population.
Vegans of LA was founded by Gwenna Hunter and serves as a first-of-its-kind vegan food bank with monthly distribution. Food bank visitors can “Build-A-Bag” of groceries to support their families with items that include in-season local farm fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, beans, and more. The products are often donated from All Vegetarian Inc., Califia Farms, Chobani, Omni Foods, Just Eggs and other sources.
Hunter’s vegan-friendly food bank is an extension of her spiritual work and she seeks to provide plant-based food to the community while advocating for all families to have access to healthy meals. The organization is committed to building a healthy community that is focused on creating a more sustainable future. “When I started this a year ago, I knew I wanted to give people what their bodies need: healthy food on a contiguous basis minus our planets’ animals,” noted Hunter in a press release. She believes that there should be free food resource centers in every zip code and sees Vegans of LA Food Bank as a possible solution to the problem.
Vegans of LA has a physical food bank location and operates a vegan food outreach program with the city’s historic West Presbyterian church. Over 600 people are fed in a single day within a 3-hour period once per month. Those in need can visit 2208 S Union Avenue from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. every third Thursday of the month. In addition to offering vegan food options, the organization also shares updates on the most recent vegan news and hosts a podcast to educate people. Volunteers and donors can come together as Vegans of LA hold events to spread awareness further.