On Saturday, October 16, the Taste of Soul Family Festival “Day of Service & Soul” (TOS) took place in the service island in front of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper located at 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Since 2020, the annual festival has been modified from its usual 350,000-plus community fanfare to a drive-thru only community service giveaway. The drive-thru modification keeps the event COVID safe and follows public health regulations.
Presented by Bakewell Media and the L.A. Sentinel in partnership with Mothers In Action, The Brotherhood Crusade and non-profit partners, the event provided 2,000 families-in-need with free groceries, clothing, personal hygiene items, PPE supplies, mental health and physical health services. According to Sentinel staff, the line for the drive-thru went past the 10 freeway with the event running past the noon deadline until all the supplies were gone. The event also received well over 100 volunteers filling hundreds of cars with goods and groceries.
“We’re so honored and humbled people have come out and supported the Day of Service & Soul because this is something that we should do not only because it’s on the birthday of Taste of Soul and in place of Taste of Soul because of COVID but, it’s the right thing to do and that’s what we have to train, not only ourselves but, our community to do the same thing,” said Founder/Creator of Taste of Soul, Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.
He continued, “The people who we are helping today, they need help tomorrow and if we’re going to really be stewards of how to help our community, we’ve got to do it every day not just certain days.”
“Taste of Soul is always a beautiful day of collaboration,” said Pamela Bakewell, COO The Bakewell Company. “We get a chance to give back to our community.
“So, it’s all about love, respect, fun and feeding families this year.”
“Taste of Soul is Los Angeles,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who celebrated his last Taste of Soul as mayor at this weekend’s event. “This is our biggest, our best and this year, during a pandemic we’re stepping up not only to be the soul of Los Angeles but, to show the soul of L.A.
Garcetti continued, “It’s not just about the soul food, it’s about the souls inside each one of us, how we give back. Thank you to the Bakewells, thank you to everybody who steps up, steps forward, our labor partners, thank you to Curren Price, thank you to everybody for proving Los Angeles is a city where everybody belongs.
“That’s a Taste of Soul.”
“The Taste of Soul is a historic event in our community,” said Assemblymember Isaac Bryan. “We all look forward to it every year. I was wondering what we were going to do this year coming out of COVID and the drive-thru idea keeps everybody safe and still gets the community all the resources we deserve and need so, a lot of love for the Bakewell’s and the Sentinel.”
A special thanks goes out to grocery providers: The LA Food Bank and Community Build. TOS also thanks Dulan’s on Crenshaw, Hotville Chicken, Earle’s on Crenshaw, Mel’s Fish, The District by GS, Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food Kitchen and Harold & Belle’s for the hot meals provided. Special thanks to Pie on the Fly, a Black-owned pizza maker, who donated lunch to all of the volunteers and partners on site with personalized, freshly made and prepared covid safe.
Special thanks to TOS Chairs Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Councilmembers Marqueece Harris Dawson, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Curren Price. Special thanks to Co-Chairs Congressmember Karen Bass, Senators Steve Bradford and Sydney Kamlager, Assemblymembers Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Mike Gipson, Autumn Burke and Isaac Bryan, LAUSD 1, George McKenna, Pat Harvey, CBS2/KCAL9 Anchor and Law Firm: Ivie, McNeill, Wyatt, Purcell & Diggs.
TOS would like to thank its partners: The Bakewell Company, the Los Angeles Sentinel, Mothers in Action, Brotherhood Crusade, the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, Radio Free KJLH 102.3 FM, 94.7 the WAVE and CBS2/KCAL9.
TOS sends a special thanks to its sponsors: Metro, Chase Bank, SEIU 2015, California Teachers Association/UTLA, LADWP, Metropolitan Water District, South Coast AQMD, Kaiser Permanente, LA County, Bank of America, Cedars-Sinai, Airbnb, City National Bank, Community Build, LA World Airports, US Bank, Westfield, Boeing, AT&T, Dodgers Foundation, Acts Inspired by Mookie (AIM), Disney, Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation and Lee Andrews Group, The LA Food Bank, the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, Labor Community Services, UDW, AFGE, Teamsters Black Caucus, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Able Solutions, Quality Equipment Rentals, National Action Network of Los Angeles and Orange County, Avenues of Life, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Black Women’s Democratic Club, SEIU 721, SEIU 2015. Sponsors and partners can be found at www.tasteofsoul.org
“We’re here today because we care about our community, we’re here today to lift up all those that have been marginalized for decades, we’re right here in the heart, the heartbeat of Los Angeles—right here in the Crenshaw Corridor,” said Cecily Myart-Cruz president, United Teachers Los Angeles.
“And it is our time to continue to stand up and continue to fight for those that are the most marginalized for our students, for our community, for our labor unions and our families.”
The community turned out in a long procession line of cars to receive much-needed goods and services. Some of those waiting in line took time to speak with the Sentinel including the first person to enter the Day of Service & Soul drive-thru who had been waiting since 2:45AM.
“I am the first in line for the 2021 Taste of Soul—boom!” said A.J. along with her riding companion, Donna. “Good morning everyone.”
When asked why she was here and about waiting until the event started, she responded, “It was fun, it was enjoyment, we got to be together, we got to walk to Denny’s this morning, we got coffee, we came back, we associated with the police, we were a community this morning and that’s what we’re trying to get back to from this pandemic.”
The upbeat and spirited A.J. left everyone with this, “The early bird gets the worm young people.
“The early bird gets the worm!”
TOS would also like to thank all of the volunteers that came out to make the Taste of Soul “Day of Service & Soul” a complete success.