Last week, while brainstorming what we could do to be of service to our community and surrounding neighborhoods, we immediately thought of Lunch on Me. We met the founder, LaRayia Gaston at Mercado Sagrado a few years ago at a panel during the event, who spoke about the incredible community and organization that created LOM. With this in mind, we decided to send them an array of adaptogens and superfoods... below is our interview with:
LaRayia Gaston, Founder & Executive Director of Lunch on Me
Sun Potion: Can you describe to us, for those unfamiliar with Lunch On Me, what the mission is behind the organization?
LaRayia Gaston: LUNCH ON ME ISN’T JUST ABOUT FOOD. We are a Los Angeles-based non-profit dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body and spirit of L.A.'s homeless community.
LOM brings nutritious and organic meals to Skid Row six days a week, every week and now reaches 10,000 people a month. We redistribute organic food that would otherwise be wasted in order to create delicious and quality meals. Our past and current initiatives also include yoga classes, community parties and healing gatherings for women. We believe that radical self-love is the foundation for permanent healing.
Where do you source most of the food from, and are they regular supporters of Lunch On Me?
Yes! We work with grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, farmers and farmer markets. 100% of our financial support comes from the community. We ask everyone to pledge, monthly. It starts as little as $10 per month.
What was happening to this food before it was diverted to this program?
Before our recovery, most food was going straight to landfills.
What do these meals typically include? Can you give us an example of one!?
We serve 3 course organic vegan meals, which are double portions. We want to make sure when we give someone a meal, it’s enough food for the entire day. Our focus is plant based foods. We do not purchase any animal products. The foods we purchase are plant based only. A classic plate would be, arugula salad and grilled veggies with our house made dressing, mixed fruit salad with coconut, chia and flax seeds, pastries from Whole Foods, coffee from La Colombe, creamer from Califia plant-based mylks. Organic granola and fruits for later. We serve huge meals!
How can people get involved and support Lunch On Me?
Pledging monthly helps us so much! We have gotten down to .89 cents per meal. Whatever people can do to help us consistently show up means the world, no donation is too big or too small.
Can you share some feedback that you have received over the years in serving the community? Do you see familiar faces and come to know this community in sharing these meals together?
We see so many familiar faces, we call the community experiencing homelessness our street family. We have watched so many lives change, because we are giving people nutritious foods, they feel better. Their moods change in a positive way, because we are loving without reason. Food is love and we are reminding people in the community that they matter, and are worthy. Everyone deserves to eat natural, earth grown foods.
In what ways do you think Sun Potion can impact and support the Lunch On Me community?
Sun Potion can support by supporting our movement, with monetary and product donations. The products you guys create are a luxury that so many don’t have access to. By collaborating with us, we can get them out to the world! Especially those who are dependent on the hearts and resources of those who have so much. Our impact comes from sharing our resources.
What do you plan on making with the herbs? We are so excited to know! :)
I’m really excited to introduce mushroom, almond & hemp mylk chocolate to the kids! We know with the way it’s been and the anxiety so many are experiencing, this is something that can bring peace during such a time. Food is love. Sharing is love.
If you donate to LOM this week, send us a screenshot of your donation receipt and we will send you a gift from us to support!
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to redeem.
Images provided by Lunch On Me