Saturday Distribution: Fourth of July

Saturday Distribution: Fourth of July

Every week I go to three different stores to buy the ingredients for the chili, chasing the sales. Every week I start soaking the beans on Friday mornings, and stay up til midnight making 100-200 chili. Every Saturday morning I wake up early to pack that chili into individual bowls and insulated bags, and go up and down the stairs in my apartment building taking everything down to the lobby. Every week I get rained on or when it was winter, snowed on. Every week my partner goes to pick up a zip car, and drives us to the city, drives back to Brooklyn to return it and goes to work until 11pm. Every single week. Last weekend, when everyone was having fun at the beach, I was sweating in my kitchen where my AC does not reach.

I am on the brink of burning out. But people need to eat. It’s hard finding the $250 dollars a week it takes to make and transport all that chili (not to mention the funding for the other chapters too). It’s hard having to stay up so late cooking. It’s hard not having a weekend, working so hard for no money. I myself barely make ends meet. But you know what’s harder? Not having something to eat. And that is what sustains me: the people we meet week after week, who come looking for us, knowing that we will be there, rain or shine, to offer them some respite. The relationship is not one-sided, we both lighten each others life a little by having an analog human connection in a world that is so digitized and sanitized, and alienating, and hard.

Thank you, Evolve for Animals!

Thank you, Evolve for Animals!

This last Fourth of July we had the fantastic folks from Evolve for Animals join us on the distribution. They also did an amazing job offering vegan education to the park goers. Thank you for your time and effort and for rallying up vegans to care about people too. Even under the rain, you came out and rocked! If we are serious about having a vegan world, we need to infiltrate it at every level. Animals don’t have a voice, but neither do the most marginalized and oppressed people of our society.

V for Vegan! With Jimmy and Kean!

V for Vegan! With Jimmy and Kean!

We had two new volunteers, Jimmy and Kean. They were amazing, incredibly helpful. Both are vegan and both live in a homeless shelter uptown. They came specifically to help us out. Jimmy has a heart that lights up the whole room, and I’m really looking forward to our collaboration this summer. Jimmy confirms what we have been hearing, that in soup kitchens in the city, there are no vegan options, sometimes not even in the side dishes. Our presence is needed, and we need to grow, as much as I myself am frayed at the edges.

It was a rainy day, but we warmed up some minds, bodies, and hearts. Our distribution this week was made possible by donations from Joanne Ehret, Amanda Fields, and Ronald Manning. Thank you for your generosity!

And thanks to our Veganteers, Julianna, Grace, Dave, Jimmy and Kean, and the amazing Evolve for Animals Crew!

After the distribution we headed over to V-Spot Organic where we had a late lunch and celebrated the holiday in vegan company. Their Seitan Steak Brunch is amazing!

I leave you now, four days before I have to start doing it all over again, resolute in my convictions, knowing that although I may be tired, this is my life’s purpose, and there is no other reason for me being alive, other than to help my fellow humans while spreading the vegan message. Using my light to strengthen others. Like the Dalai Lama said: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others”- I wish more of us took his message to heart.

...

Kareem- vegan for 10 years-

Kareem- vegan for 10 years-

Grey and I at the table- moved because of the rain

Grey and I at the table- moved because of the rain

Kareem and Samantha warming up with a chili

Kareem and Samantha warming up with a chili

Team of Vegan Educators- about to hit up the dog run with leaflets

Team of Vegan Educators- about to hit up the dog run with leaflets

Jupiter

Jupiter

distribution 7.4d

Team of Chili Runners

Team of Chili Runners

by:Veganteer Grace Allende "The highlight of my Fourth of July was Razor. I met Razor today when I was volunteering with Chilis on Wheels. I was out on a water run when I noticed Razor sitting on the side of the curb. I offered Razor a bottle of water and Razor jokingly said, “thanks so much I just had a jalapeno so it was definitely needed.” I started telling Razor about our weekly distributions of vegan chili in Tompkins Square Park. Razor was ecstatic by the news because Razor was also a vegan. However, Razor only ate raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. My heart broke when Razor showed me the soggy fruits and vegetables that were collected from the garbage can earlier that day. My heart broke even more when Razor told me that Razor has lived on the streets for over twenty years and had nowhere to go for the brutal winters. Not knowing I asked Razor why she did not go to a women shelter and Razor replied, “I am a transgender male so I turned to a men’s shelter where I was raped and trafficked because of my female body parts. I never went back. Then, I turned to a women’s shelter just to escape the cold where I was forced to identify as someone I am not. That shit really damages you psychologically. I never went back.” After hearing Razors story, I introduced Razor to one of my good friends Julianna Calvaruso. Julianna and I decided to go to the store and purchase plums, romaine lettuce, and Razor’s favorite avocadoes. On our way back, Razor wrote us this note (some personal info. is covered for Razor’s safety). Razor called us kind souls but honestly, I think Sir Razor really is the kindest and most courageous soul I’ve ever met. Who knows maybe we will see Razor again and maybe next time we will have that super strong "Artic" toothpaste. <3"

by: Veganteer Grace Allende
“The highlight of my Fourth of July was Razor. I met Razor today when I was volunteering with Chilis on Wheels. I was out on a water run when I noticed Razor sitting on the side of the curb. I offered Razor a bottle of water and Razor jokingly said, “thanks so much I just had a jalapeno so it was definitely needed.” I started telling Razor about our weekly distributions of vegan chili in Tompkins Square Park. Razor was ecstatic by the news because Razor was also a vegan. However, Razor only ate raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. My heart broke when Razor showed me the soggy fruits and vegetables that were collected from the garbage can earlier that day. My heart broke even more when Razor told me that Razor has lived on the streets for over twenty years and had nowhere to go for the brutal winters. Not knowing I asked Razor why she did not go to a women shelter and Razor replied, “I am a transgender male so I turned to a men’s shelter where I was raped and trafficked because of my female body parts. I never went back. Then, I turned to a women’s shelter just to escape the cold where I was forced to identify as someone I am not. That shit really damages you psychologically. I never went back.” After hearing Razors story, I introduced Razor to one of my good friends Julianna Calvaruso. Julianna and I decided to go to the store and purchase plums, romaine lettuce, and Razor’s favorite avocadoes. On our way back, Razor wrote us this note (some personal info. is covered for Razor’s safety). Razor called us kind souls but honestly, I think Sir Razor really is the kindest and most courageous soul I’ve ever met. Who knows maybe we will see Razor again and maybe next time we will have that super strong “Artic” toothpaste. <3″

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