New Website & New Digs for our Blog!

Friends, our website is up and running! All further posts will be found in our new blog:

http://www.chilisonwheels.org/blog/

We are keeping this site up for a while so that all links that have been disseminated until now can still be found. Head on over to our new digs for new posts!

Thank you for your patience and your support!

Much love!

Saturday Distribution: Why Do People Still Hate

The highlight of last Saturday’s Distribution was without a doubt, the poetry of Esi Grant. Esi just got out of the hospital, she had not been outside in four or five days, but her joy infected everyone around her. She was kind enough to share two of her poems with us.

After this next one, she hugged us all, and left. Leaving behind her inspiration and her joy. What a great break in our distribution! She filled our hearts.

We distributed 117 chili meals and 200 waters. A HUGE thank you to our favorite teenagers, the gals from Student Advocated for Animal Rights in Edward Murrow High School for holding a vegan bake sale in their school and surprising us with a $150.00 donation! They are truly an inspiration for the future, engaged participatory comitted youth. I look forward to continuing collaboration with them in the summer, with the new club leadership next school year, and to follow the new graduates in their college careers. They are off to do greater and bigger things, but I am sure they will continue to bring light to their communities, wherever they find themselves. I could not be prouder of the Veganteers!

Surprising donation from the Student Advocates for Animal Rights
Surprising donation from the Student Advocates for Animal Rights

I want to thank the Veganteers on Saturday, Erika, Hannah, Grace, Julianna, Melissa, Tia, Christopher, Bear, Ollie, and Ivan. We couldn’t have done it without you! We brought a little relief to a Saturday afternoon!

Melissa and Tia Team ready for distribution in the vicinity of the park.
Melissa and Tia Team ready for distribution in the vicinity of the park.
Erika manages the table.
Erika manages the table.

IMG_2731

Distributing
Distributing
Distributing
Distributing
Distributing.
Distributing.

Esi’s poem might be titled, Why Do People Still Hate, but our Saturday Distributions are filled with nothing but love. Thank you for the love.

800 May Meals! *and pictures of distributions in San Diego and Puerto Rico*

Chilis on Wheels- Help us dish out compassion! Donate today.
Chilis on Wheels- Help us dish out compassion! Donate today.

April Showers and May Flowers. Here are our amazing blooms: close to 800 meals in the month of May! 800!

An amazing accomplishment, thanks to our Veganteers in New York, Portland, Denver, San Diego, and Puerto Rico!

I am proud and grateful beyond words and very excited about the future. If we can feed 800 people in a month out of our kitchens, imagine what we can do once we are established in a commercial kitchen?! I know this will happen, and our numbers, the amount of people that we help will keep on multiplying. 800 meals in a month! Help us continue this work! Make a donation! Share it with your friends! Help us increase this number!

This past weekend, San Diego and Puerto Rico distributed vegan chili to the homeless and the community. Thank you Tara and Nikki, and Zuleyka and Janice for dishing out compassion! Here are pictures of their distributions:

San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
San Diego

 

Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico- CoW Kids
Puerto Rico- CoW Kids
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

Saturday Distribution- Numbers, People, Pictures

Tyrone
Tyrone

It’s easy for me to get hung up on numbers. I was a program data director for non-profits in my previous life. My days revolved around numbers, goals and outcomes, meeting quotas, measuring progress. Now as I seek funding for Chilis on Wheels, I also go back to my training and concentrate on numbers, which foundations seem to thrive on. This weekend alone was fantastic for numbers: In NY: 125 meals. 200 water bottles, 4 dog-food bags. 12 vegan education engagements; in San Diego: 30 meals, 30 water bottles; in Puerto Rico: 15 meals, 13 water bottles, 4 dog food bags. The numbers were great! But, it’s not about numbers. I am not removed from what we do. 125 meals, means 125 people, with faces and names and lives, experiencing hardships at a level I cannot thoroughly understand.

125 people that stop to chat with us and wish us luck, and shake our hands, and allow us to glimpse a world beyond our own, allow us for a very brief period of time, to understand that the world does not in fact revolve around us. And I’m not going to lie, it give us a sense of purpose in our lives and a satisfaction of doing our part to ease someone else’s hardship even if it is as momentary a relief, as providing lunch, and a smile, and a chat, and handshake.

distribution 5.30a

This weekend the kids really stepped up. Ollie and Bear scouted the park letting people know that we were there, encouraging them to get a warm meal. They then also gave out chili and water at the table. I really enjoy seeing the kids engaged in their community, having a positive frame around the word “work”, and really having genuine fun helping people.

Bear, Christopher, and Ollie scout the park.
Bear, Christopher, and Ollie scout the park.
Bear gives out chili and water at the table-
Bear gives out chili and water at the table-
Ollie distributes water-
Ollie distributes water- **Photo by Laura Kolbe Dotterer**

Our other youth, our teenagers were also Veganteers with us this weekend. Grace, a senior from Ed Murrow, became team leader as she took charge of a cart and distributed along Avenue C and the park’s vicinity.

Grace- Senior from Ed Murrow- Chilis on Wheels Team Leader- distributing chili
Grace- Senior from Ed Murrow- Chilis on Wheels Team Leader- distributing chili **Photo by Laura Kolbe Dotterer**

While at a table we met a number of people curious about veganism and we talked to them about it, and shared ways in which they too can incorporate compassion in their diet. Some kind people even made donations, with which we purchased more water bottles as we ran low.

Kind woman making a donation-
Kind woman making a donation- we mostly depend on individual donations and are super grateful to our donors! **Photo by Laura Kolbe Dotterer**

Overall it was another great Saturday distribution, and a huge thanks goes to the people whose donations made it possible: Amanda Fields and Ronald Manning. And a huge thanks to our Veganteers: Anthony, Julianna, Christopher, Bear, Ollie, Ivan, Grace, Melissa, and Laura.

The numbers don’t lie, we ARE providing a much needed service to the community, and we are ambitious in our goals of becoming a permanent vegan food-hub in the community, but it’s because of people like John and Ed, and Tyrone, Aaron, and Maria. Because we want to help one another, because food should be free and no one should ever go hungry, and animals are lives and should never be considered food.

**Here are some pictures of the distribution, courtesy of Laura Kolbe Dotterer. (Stay tuned in a few days for pictures of San Diego and Puerto Rico’s distribution!)**

distribution 5.30LKDy
John and Ed
distribution 5.30LKDu
We added a bed of rice in order to stretch out our portions
distribution 5.30LKDv
Distributing chili
distribution 5.30LKDw
Chili
distribution 5.30LKDt
We feed the entire family- vegan chili and vegan dog food
distribution 5.30LKDs
Grace and Melissa- teenagers from Ed Murrow High School take a break after a chili run
distribution 5.30LKDr
Distributing
distribution 5.30LKDq
Tony shared thoughts on chili in differents parts of the world
distribution 5.30LKDp
Antwon who just got back from Philadelphia
distribution 5.30LKDo
In between crowds
distribution 5.30LKDn
Chilis on Wheels Drive thru
distribution 5.30LKDl
Fun in the community
distribution 5.30LKDk
Ollie distributes
distribution 5.30LKDj
Anthony distributes
distribution 5.30LKDi
Julianna distributes
distribution 5.30LKDh
.
distribution 5.30LKDf
.
distribution 5.30LKDe
Bye
distribution 5.30LKDd
Ollie had some vegan chocolate ice cream!
distribution 5.30LKDc
Grace
distribution 5.30LKDb
At the table
distribution 5.30LKDa1
Tyrone
distribution 5.30e
Giving out the napkins
distribution 5.30a4
Veganteers
distribution 5.30LKDz
John and Ed
distribution 5.30a7
We are done for the week. See you next time!
distribution 5.30a6
..
distribution 5.30a5
Ollie helps tie up the carts with the bungee chords
Chilis on Wheels- Help us dish out compassion! Donate today.
Chilis on Wheels- Help us dish out compassion! Donate today.

 

Memorial Day Weekend Distributions- Portland and Denver!

Memorial Day Weekend Distributions in the Portland and Denver chapters!

Denver Chapter had its first distribution! They served 30 meals and water bottles! Everything went by so fast, they didn’t even get a chance to take pictures! They will be doubling their servings for next time, they were so touched by need that they immediately stopped to buy a second pot for their next distribution.

distribution 5.24b

Vegan chili in reusable bowls
Vegan chili in reusable bowls
Jackie unloading the chili in the cooler on wheels
Jackie unloading the chili in the cooler on wheels
Denver chapter was so enthused with their distribution, they immediately stopped in a store to buy a second pot to double the meals for next distribution
Denver chapter was so enthused with their distribution, they immediately stopped in a store to buy a second pot to double the meals for next distribution

 

Portland Chapter gave out 49 chili, biscuit, and coleslaw! This is what they had to say: “We ended up with 18 quarts of chili. Enough for 49 servings. 46 of coleslaw and a small mountain of biscuits. Everyone was so sweet and thankful. The gratitude they showed was humbling. It’s just a drop in the bucket really and it’s not that hard to do. These people face more difficulties in a single day than we do in a year and they were giving US blessings! We’re all in this together and we need to take better care of each other.”

 

Coleslaw and other deliciousness
Coleslaw and other deliciousness
distribution 5.24d
Chilis on Wheels ready for a distribution
distribution 5.24a
Chilis on Wheels wagon!
distribution 5.24c
Distributing

distribution 5.24b

I am so incredibly moved by these efforts! Thank you Peter and Kim, Jackie and Karen for all you do, and the teams of Veganteers! Together we are helping our community, and being compassionate to animals, the environment, and people!

Stay tuned next weekend for another New York, San Diego and Puerto Rico distribution!

Unmatched Saturday Distribution! 200 people served!

2 24 QT pots of chili
1 smaller pot in an electric burner
2 pans of corn bread
4 cases of water bottles

That’s how our Saturday distribution of vegan chili started. We packed it all up and drove to the city. Upon crossing the street in to the park and before even clearing the ramp we were swamped by a crowd of people asking for a chili. We have never had an experience like this. People were shoving each other, trying to get something to eat. Think about it, they are so hungry they were pushing and shoving to get something to eat. My world was transformed this Saturday, once again.

distribution 5.23s
The crowd having us barely make it into the sidewalk.
distribution 5.23i
The crowd.
Making a line.
Making a line.

Thankfully, Stephanie saw us and came to us and helped us manage the crowd and give out the chili. We could not have done it without her. People listened to her and respected her, and then made a line that we took care of. In 5 to 10 minutes we gave out close to 60 of those chili meals.

distribution 5.23g
Stephanie, who helped us manage the crowd. Thank you so much! You were amazing!

 

None of the volunteers had yet even arrived!! What were we going to do?!

Julianna went to get bagels at a nearby supermarket. Anthony bought bags of vegan sandwiches from a nearby health food store. Jon from Community Solidarity who we just happened to see by coincidence had a case of bananas on his car and gave it to us to distribute. Day Saved!

Volunteers came, a lot this week, and we stayed in Tompkins Square Park since need was so overwhelming there. We served 200 people in this park alone! 200!

Our volunteers really saved the day though. Ollie and Bear gave out the bananas and later scouted the park telling people we were there. Volunteers prepared some sandwiches and bagels and also went around in the perimeter of the park and its close vicinity.

distribution 5.23o
Making vegan sandwiches and bagels
distribution 5.23m
New Veganteers- Jamison and Candace
distribution 5.23c
Giving out bagels
distribution 5.23d
Distributing vegan meals
distribution 5.23e
Bear and Ollie take a snack break after distributing bananas and scouting the park for people to come get their meals.

 

distribution 5.23t
Edward Murrow Student Advocates for Animal Rights gals! (and Audrey)

 

We met Israel, who has lived in the Lower East Side for 50 years and he told us there has been a lot of changes, that there is a lot less poverty now, but that people are still hurting.  He also filled me in on a little history of Tompklns Square Park, how it has seen riots because “people get angry when they don’t have anything to eat”. And a little more research upon this park proves his point. The birthplace of so many political uprisings, what an amazing park.

Israel- who gave me a history on Tompkins Square Park: "People get angry when they don't have something to eat."
Israel- who gave me a history on Tompkins Square Park: “People get angry when they don’t have something to eat.”

We met Andrea, a vegetarian travelling from New Orleans. She’s trying to go vegan and the guy she’s staying with is vegan so she thinks she’ll be able to do it. She took some of the new Evolve for Animals leaflets.

Andrea- transitioning to veganism.
Andrea- transitioning to veganism.

We met Cassandra, she lives nearby and happened to stumble across us. She loved the chili and will be coming back next week to get more. She thanked us profusely for being out here.

Cassandra-
Cassandra-

If I learned something this Saturday is that our model has already been outgrown. Until we find a kitchen where we can prepare three times, four times as much food, we will not be able to spread out as much as I had anticipated and our service will be this localized and specific and limited. I continue sending proposals to fund a space, as well as reaching out to churches and community centers in Manhattan to see if they would allow us to use their kitchens. Something is bound to materialize eventually. All I know is that I stumbled upon this need, and it has transformed into my calling. I cannot ignore it, and I am obsessively trying to improve it and grow it, all in the service of the community and while being compassionate to animals, the environment, and people.

This week’s distribution was made possible by contributions from Ruth Allison and Mark Meunier and by on the spot donations and amazing volunteer work of our Veganteers: Julianna, Grace, Melissa, Hannah, Anthony, Audrey, Nick, Alyssa, Jamison, Candace, Sebastian, Dave, Christopher, Bear, Ollie, and Ivan.

We are making a difference in the lives of people! 200 people this week!

Saturday Distribution: After the rain, a rainbow.

No volunteers. Burnt pot of chili (mostly rescued and fixed). Zip Car website down. Hour long traffic jam. Forgotten wallet at home. When it rains, it pours. Did I mention it was ALSO raining?! That was the start to our Saturday Distribution. I took a deep breath and said to myself, it will be what it will be. And it was.

We made new volunteer badges so that our volunteers can be recognized while we are giving distributions. We have called our volunteers “Veganteers: Friends of CoW”.

 

Julianna and Ollie show off the new volunteer badges "Friends of CoW"
Julianna and Ollie show off the new volunteer badges “Friends of CoW”

We arrived after an hour and a half in what is usually a 20 minute ride to Tompkins Square Park. Within 20 minutes we had already distributed close to 40 meals in that park alone. Because it was only Julianna, Ollie and I, we did not have a chance to take many pictures. The crowds gathered around us asking, “You have something to eat? What are you giving out?” It was an overwhelming experience. Usually we approach people, here they were rushing to see if we had something to eat, with a heart-breaking desperation.

Julianna and Ollie with one of the carts, crossing the street into Tompkins Sq. Park
Julianna and Ollie with one of the carts, crossing the street into Tompkins Sq. Park

Jesus, a Puerto Rican man in this park and in this rush stayed behind to talk to us. He asked us to come back again please, that people are hurting, and they’re hungry. I promised him we would return next Saturday. It’s time like these that I become impatient in our goal to have a daily soup kitchen with daily chili running teams. The need is so outstanding.

Jesus
Jesus

We started a new tradition of updating our routes in Twitter in real time, and asking you to Tweet us the location of people in the streets of Lower Manhattan that might need lunch. We ask you that if you happen upon a person set up in a sidewalk in Lower Manhattan on Saturday, you tweet us the cross streets and we will try to deliver a vegan chili. We hope it catches on!

We were done with our chili distribution fairly quickly. From now on, if we have enough volunteers, we will be splitting one team to cover Union Square from Tompkins, and the other to set up the table at Washington Square Park. Once at Wash Park, we can reshape another team to send to Central Park too. But we need volunteers! If you can give a few hours of your time and want to get in a little exercise by walking, please get in touch! We need at least 6 to 9 volunteers to cover all these locations. Be a Veganteer Friend of CoW!

All in all, the comedy of errors ended and we concluded the day with full hearts and fiery determination to reach our goals of increased services. After the rain, a rainbow! Pooling our energies together we can truly make a difference in our community, and in our world!

These guys were from Guatamala
These guys were from Guatamala
She asked for a hug after receiving a chili.
She asked for a hug after receiving a chili.
Ollie takes off his volunteer badge to enjoy his chili.
Ollie takes off his volunteer badge to enjoy his chili.
We're done! Julianna treated us to vegan ice cream afterwards!
We’re done! Julianna treated us to vegan ice cream afterwards!