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An all-vegan food bank, LasVegan Food Bank recently opened in Las Vegas in an effort to provide vegan and healthy grocery boxes to people who are in need.
Opened back in December of last year and founded by Mindy Poortinga, the vegan food bank is managed entirely by volunteers and runs on monetary donations, and every two weeks, the LasVegan Food Bank distributes pastas, rice, beans, and much more for those in need.
Poortinga recently announced that she will open Las Vegas’s first vegan cooking school and deli, Vegas Vegan Culinary School and Eatery, aimed at teaching people the techniques and methods of plant-based cooking. Now with the opening of a vegan food bank, Poortinga distributes vegan grocery boxes, containing approximately 10 meals worth of food every Saturday from at the RIR Animal Sanctuary.
I was concerned about how many people were unemployed and struggling to feed themselves and their families in the Las Vegas area and was wanting to volunteer at a food bank, but [as a vegan] I didn’t feel good about feeding people animal products. It turns out there was a huge need for the vegan food bank and with the help of volunteers I was able to get ours startedMindy Poortinga, founder of LasVegan Food Bank
In an interview with VegNews, Poortinga said: “I was concerned about how many people were unemployed and struggling to feed themselves and their families in the Las Vegas area and was wanting to volunteer at a food bank, but [as a vegan] I didn’t feel good about feeding people animal products. I know how our vegan population has grown exponentially in the last few years and wondered if there was a need for a vegan food bank. It turns out there was a huge need for the vegan food bank and with the help of volunteers I was able to get ours started.”
On its first distribution day, the food bank gave out nearly 20 boxes of groceries at a contact-free pick-up location, and, so far, it has provided around 900 meals.
In the coming months, Poortinga hopes to expand the food bank offerings. “We’ve had to close down our online grocery box registration form within a couple of days and essentially turn people away without food—which is a terrible feeling when the entire goal is to get people fed. I’d like us to not ever have to do that again.”
People who would like to help the food bank can donate non-perishable food items at Veg-In-Out Market, Go Vegan Cafe & Juice Bar, and Tarantino’s Vegan, and for cash donations, individuals can do it via Venmo and Patreon for produce purchases on the day the grocery boxes are given out.
In order to collect a box, people are required to sign up in advance on the food bank’s Facebook page, and then receive details on picking a box via a contactless curbside service.
In the future, the group plans to establish a website and delivery service and would like to collaborate with Three Square Food Bank.
Poortinga’s other venture, Vegas Vegan Culinary School and Eatery will conduct 40+ classes each month, ranging from beginner level to advanced in the hope to be a space that promotes animal-free and tasteful plant-based dishes across global cuisines.
The world produces enough food to feed the entire world population of nearly 8 billion, however, 820 million people are still hungry and more than one in five children globally are stunted due to malnutrition and to build a resident food system, UN Chief has urged governments across the world to take action.
Recently, news about the global food supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic has shocked the world, with data finding around 265 million people possibly facing starvation and also sheds light on how our global food supply is broken and insufficient.
To collect a box, sign up here.
Lead image courtesy of LasVegan Food Bank.