What an inspiring day last Saturday was! We distributed 57 chil, 72 water bottles, we leafleted, had conversations on veganism, and connected with each other and with other people in the park also trying to make positive change for their community and thus the world.
It was 27 years since the Tompkins Sq. Park Riot and not a lot has changed. (See here for more on the 1988 riots: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tompkins_Square_Park_Riot_(1988)) The police are still aggressively targeting homelessness and criminalizing the poor. A few weeks ago an NYU student expressed fear of walking through Tompkins Sq Park. Interesting that my 4 year old and I walk through Tompkins and fear is not the prominent emotion. But the NY Post followed up with a piece which I will not link so as not to give them online traffic, but in which they called some of our friends –bums. They interviewed a woman complaining that she sees people sleeping on benches and wonders what she can tell her child about that. Perhaps her child can learn from Ollie about EMPATHY and join Ollie in HELPING others. Perhaps SHE can do the same.
In any case, the police soon followed and have heavily policed the park, installing (and later removing due to pressure from protestors) a watch tower so that they may remove and criminalize anyone sleeping on the park.
This, as I briefly mentioned in a Facebook post has our friends scrambling for a place to sleep, exchanging the comfort of the grass and the shade of the trees for the scalding pavement under the punishing sun.
Last weekend a camp-out protest and a concert memorializing the anniversary of the riots took place. We loved connecting and being around people also fighting the good fight, the environment was amazing, we heard some good tunes and saw some Capoeira and restrengthened our resolve to be of use to the community and thus the world.
We received opioid overdose prevention certification- which allows us to help someone going through and overdose if need be in our distributions. We loved the folks at Lower East Side Harm Reduction Services and will look into ways that we can add harm reduction services to our array of services.
What a great day we had! Huge thanks to Anthony Martinez whose donation and commitment made the distribution possible. Our Veganteers Julianna, Isabella, Michele, Jimmy, Anthony, Ivan, and Ollie made it a day to remember.
We have several announcements lined up, stay tuned to our social media.
The first one: Vegan Drinks! Chilis on Wheels will be the beneficiary and food vendor at Vegan Drinks on August 27th at Fontanas Bar in NYC. We will be serving a three bean chili over rice with cornbread, and a dessert to be announced soon. We will have exciting raffle prizes and the proceeds will go into serving #vegan meals to the community.
The second announcement: Restaurant Depot! We have a brand new membership to Restaurant Depot. The prices here are amazing and your dollar will stretch out considerably! We can really lower our overhead costs and feed more people for less! (We have proof of these prices and pictures of the labels will be posted in Facebook soon) Please look at the prices and consider making a donation to cover one or more of the following products:
50lb of parboiled rice: $19.01 : would last us for 8 weeks!
250 containers with lids (paper, not plastic, better for the environment): $39.68
1 case of 35 water bottles: $4.53
Case of 1000 spoons for $6.57
50 lbs of black beans: $34.41 (which would last us for one month!)
50 lbs of red beans: $50.66 (which would last us for one month!)
We trust you find these prices as amazing as we do. Because they are in bulk, they require us to have some upfront money to purchase so much. If you are able, please donate for some of these products and help us dish out compassion! www.chilisonwheels.org/donate
We have more news and surprises lined up, stay tuned! Chilis on Wheels is here to stay folks, but we need your help! Share our posts, share news of our events, our successes, our needs. We can do it if we band together! We can be a part of the solution, we can be a part of the change, a part of a more compassionate, gentler, kinder world for the animals and the people, a better world for everyone! Join us!