When businesses around the country began shutting down in the Spring, Mercy for Animals (MFA), a national animal rights group, launched Plants to the People, an initiative to help vegan restaurants stay afloat during the pandemic. As part of the initiative, MFA paid 10 vegan restaurants and chefs in the Newark, New Jersey area to prepare their plant-based specialties for Bridges Outreach, an organization that delivers 65,000 meals a week to people in need. When MFA volunteer Peter Ortiz contacted Bridges Outreach to propose a vegan Thanksgiving for its clients, the organization jumped at the chance – and Ortiz jumped into action.
Ortiz asked five of the restaurants that participated in Plants to the People to prepare food for the ThanksLiving event, which was held outdoors due to the pandemic. Not only did the restaurants donate the food, but they also served it up in person — with the help of volunteers from Mercy for Animals, Hip Hop is Green New Jersey, Newark Animal Save and Jersey Shore Food Not Bombs.
“We are excited and honored to be working with Bridges Outreach to produce its first vegan ThanksLiving celebration,” said Peter Ortiz, on behalf of the volunteer organizations. “We are also thankful to the restaurants that generously donated food at a time when they too are struggling due to the pandemic.”
The ThanksLiving event went off without a hitch on Tuesday, November 24th, outside of the Bridges Outreach headquarters in Newark. Approximately 200 people were fed throughout the day. One of the guests was so grateful to the volunteers that he broke out into dance.
Richard Uniacke, the Executive Director of Bridges Outreach, expressed his gratitude to the organizations and restaurants that made ThanksLiving possible.
The participating restaurants were Blueberry Cafe’ Juice Bar & Vegan Grille in Newark; How Delish HD in West Orange; More Life Cafe “A Vegan Spot” in Jersey City; Plant Base in Jersey City; and Vegans of Seitan in Linden. Among the many menu items were curry jackfruit, lentil & squash soup, Mac n’ Cheese, collard greens, apple cobbler, chili and rice (donated by Food Not Bombs), and cupcakes (donated by Jam Cakery).
Filed under: Food
Tagged with: ThanksLiving, vegan outreach