Every month, Since January 2021, the Los Angeles Health Save in partnership with Downtown Crenshaw came together to provide up to 100 bags of fresh organic and locally grown produce that included items such as sweet potatoes, cabbage, collards, kale, onions, garlic, organic apples, pears, oranges, green beans, mushrooms, bananas and more. The food was provided by LA Health Save to help Downtown Crenshaw provide organic groceries and meals to community members in the downtown Leimert Park area.
The groceries always included a hot fresh plant-based meal. Most of the meals this year have been provided by Chef Supreme Dow of the Concierge Kitchen who has donated to several of the Downtown Crenshaw mutual aid outreach programs.
“We start at 9:00 am on a Saturday morning with the delivery of fruits and vegetables by What’s Good Produce. The volunteers show up to help pack each individual bag by hand. By 12:00 p.m. we are ready for community distribution,” said Los Angeles Health Save Manager Gwenna Hunter.
Several members from Downtown Crenshaw were there to ensure that as each bag was given to a member of the Leimert Park/Africa Town community, they learn more about the mission of what DC is and get them to sign up for their email.
“The Downtown Crenshaw Free Vegan Grocery and Hot Meal Giveaway is about taking care of our beloved community in providing vegan grocery bags and hot vegan meals. It’s about changing the narrative, shifting the paradigm, and amplifying healthy food choices that heal and nurture our community,” said Verneen Mincey, a member and volunteer of the organization.
Residents enjoyed the opportunity to receive such healthy foods with kindness. “I appreciate the quality of the food and how green the veggies are. What they are doing is a blessing in the community,” said one attendee who came on his bike. Although the event was a drive-thru giveaway, walk-ups were given a bag as well.
The grocery distribution was usually complete by 1:00/1:30 p.m. “We hope that these bags provide an incentive to eat healthier and to consume meals that are whole food plant-based without animal products. We know that a healthy community is a thriving community,” said Hunter who helps pass out the bags of healthy foods. “In addition, our hope is also that these bags and meals can provide some financial relief to those that may also be experiencing any financial challenges in getting by that week.”
The food mutual aid/food giveaway program was provided by DowntownCrenshaw.com and sponsored by Los Angeles Health Save. While the food giveaway program in Leimert Park is temporality on pause, LA Health Save will be starting a plant-based food bank in the spring of 2022.
To learn more, you can find LA Health Save on their IG @lahealthsave.