On Saturday, October 17, the Taste of Soul Community Food Distribution took place in the block of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper on Crenshaw Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The food distribution came at a critical time as the economy has been severely hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because of COVID-19, everything has changed, but this is Taste of Soul, this is Taste of Soul takeout,” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. founder/creator of Taste of Soul and chairman of Bakewell Media. “This is Taste of Soul helping the community during hard times.”
He continued, “The Taste of Soul Nation is alive and well, we’re going to feed over 2,000 because we want the community to know, when our community is down, we’re here to help.”
This food distribution was supported by Bakewell Media/L.A. Sentinel in partnership with Mothers in Action, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Councilmembers Herb Wesson, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Curren D. Price, Jr., L.A. Regional Food Bank, L.A. County Federation of Labor, Labor Community Services, Miquel Contreras Foundation, Brotherhood Crusade, SEIU 2015, Bank of America, LA City Controller, Ron Galperin, TNBC, AFGE, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Water District, Radio Free KJLH and 94.7 The Wave, US Bank, L.A. World Airports, Dulans on Crenshaw, Harold & Belles, Mel’s Fish Shack and The District by GS.
“We’re going to feed thousands of people in our community by giving them boxes of healthy food and produce that they need to survive,” said Wesson. “The need is overwhelming—we’re going to try to deliver for that need.”
The food distribution didn’t just help local families, but it also supported Black businesses that are struggling to stay in business during the pandemic. Pre-packaged meals were also purchased from Dulans on Crenshaw, Harold & Belles, Mels Fish Shack and The District by GS. These businesses are a part of the Sentinel’s Support Black Business Campaign which is an ongoing program designed to provide extra business support to our local businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The drive-thru event saw an endless line of cars come through to receive food and produce delivered by masked volunteers observing social distancing. The L.A. Regional Food Bank provided groceries and pre-packaged meals that were cooked off-site for distribution following strict COVID-19 health restrictions approved by L.A. County Public Health.
The food distribution was an event in conjunction with the Taste of Soul Online and On-time Virtual Concert. The 15th Annual Taste of Soul Goes Virtual event kept everyone safely at home watching the festival online and provided entertainment and positive community messaging to everyone during these challenging times.
“Taste of Soul is an annual event that brings together family, friends, community, businesses, nonprofits,” said Price. “Even with the pandemic that we’re facing, we’re here celebrating, sharing with our neighbors and letting them know—we are working together.”
Bakewell media, the Los Angeles Sentinel, the L.A. Watts Times and, especially, our non-profit partner, Mothers In Action, and its president, Tracy Mitchell would like to thank their partners of the virtual Taste of Soul – L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, L.A. County, L.A. City, Mothers In Action, CBS2/KCAL9, 94.7 The WAVE, 102.3 Radio FREE KJLH, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Metropolitan Water District, Chase Bank, SEIU 2015, Brotherhood Crusade, Law Firm: Ivie, McNeill, Wyatt, Purcell & Diggs and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.
Thank you to the following staff and volunteers for making this year’s Taste of Soul Food Distribution a big success. Thank you to the Unions and the L.A. Food Bank who fought to make this event happen to a standard that our community needs and deserves.
• Rosalyn Austin-Stewart (AFGE president), Yvonne Wheeler (AFGE), Robert Turner (Teamsters National Black Caucus), April Verrett, SEIU 2015,
• Armando Olivias and Sarah Roschdi, Labor Community Services
• Michael Flood, L.A. Regional Food Bank
• Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (Jason Lombard) – use of Mall for volunteer parking
• California Bank & Trust – use of parking lot via Fred Leeds Properties
• Quality Equipment Rentals donated forklift
• Rosalyn Crear, Donovan Anderson, Marie Goree, Andrea Robertson, Patrick Muhammad, L.A. Conservation Corps, Mothers In Action staff – stuffed 1,000 TOS bags.
• MIA Staff – Tracy Mitchell, president, Carrell Howard & Robert Anderson
• Councilman Marqueece Harris Dawson – masks and hand sanitizer
• L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sponsor – donated equipment, 1,000 masks
• Community Build – masks
• US Bank – sponsor, ear bug holders, first aid pocket kits,
• Chase Bank – key chains, water bottles, hand sanitizers
• Metropolitan Water District- 1,500 hand sanitizer
• Brotherhood Crusade – sponsor, note pads and LADWP resource information
• Blue Shield-tents, tables, chairs, covered CA info
• USC bags with masks, hand sanitizer, wipes
• Mothers In Action- water bottles, masks, hand sanitizers, notebooks, post-its,
• SCLC donated masks for volunteers and did voter registration
• AFGE – brought masks and gloves for volunteers
• Teamsters NBC – donated hand sanitizers for volunteers
• Girl Scout Troop 1565 distributed 1,000 bags
• Lisa Square, Pat Thomas, Tasha Gastelo, Renee & Jenee Smith served lunch
• Kimani Black sponsored lunch for volunteers
• Councilman Herb Wesson CD 10 – donated 1,000 hand sanitizers, dumpster, trash liners, posted no parking signs, brought 6 DOT officers, barricades, cones,
• LAPD South Traffic and LAPD Southwest Divisions LAPD had a coordinated effort of 12 motorcycle officers to help direct traffic, load cars with food, protect us and keep us safe throughout the event.
• Able Solutions security
• Sylvia Lacy helped with city resources
• Irvine Volunteer Association
• Pre-packaged prepared meals served by Mel’s Fish, Harold & Belles, The District by GS and Dulans on Crenshaw & Sip & Sonder provided the coffee.
• SCLC conducted Voter Registration activities and free COVID19 tests were administered during food distribution
• L.A. Sentinel Team: Brandi Bakewell, Tamela Mitchell, Nicole Williams, Lauren Brazile, Mesiyah McGinnis, Robert Torrance, Tom Dorsey, Allen Moret, Jr., Carrington Lee, Jordan Cooper, Pamela Bakewell and Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. David Z.
Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Founder/Creator of Taste of Soul wishes to thank all the volunteers, sponsors and community partners who worked hard to make the 15th Annual Taste of Soul a day of service and giving back to our community.
Please remember to support the L.A. Sentinel in print and digital and look for more information on how you can support our Black Businesses at www.lasentinel.net.