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Downtown Crenshaw Rising Mutual Aid

MALAN Featured Effort


A project of The Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Downtown Crenshaw Rising (DCR), the Downtown Crenshaw Rising Mutual Aid Food Giveaway happens on the third Sunday of every month at Africa Town (formerly known as Leimert Park Village) in front of Vision Theatre near Crenshaw and West 43rd Place.

Colorful open air market with trees on either side of the wide street
Vendors set up Africa Town marketplace on Degnan Boulevard. (Photo: Ricky de Laveaga | MALAN)

With music in the air, next to a line of smiling people filling bags with colorful organic produce and passing them along, Verneen Mincey of DCR, BLM LA, and the Fanny Lou Hamer Institute observed: “We do this to be in community with the vendors here in Africa Town but also to offer healthy options. With a focus on plant-based food, we bring attention to food justice and the benefits of eating well.”

In collaboration with partners like Billion Godsun of Africa Town Coalition, The Lion Art Gallery (which does their own food giveaway every Sunday with Food Revolution LA), Fight for the Soul of the Cities, and What’s Good Produce, DCR provides fresh produce, prepared food, and dry and baked goods to the community. Walk-ups are welcome.

Groups of people talk in circles behind tables filled with colorful grocery bags
Volunteers prepare for the food distribution. (Photo: Ricky de Laveaga | MALAN)

In addition to distributing more than 100 bags of groceries at the February 19 event, DCR worked with event producer Evrythng Creativ to serve just as many hot meals. This installment of the Soul Food event series, dubbed From Farm to Table, featured chef Kahil Sadiq demonstrating how to cook the produce without letting anything go to waste.

Mrs. Linda Morgan Sam and Evrythng Creativ’s Jonathan Gooden hatched the idea for Sadiq’s Kah’s Grill to be there serving Ital vegetables over brown rice with cornbread and fresh fruit, with DCR and Liberty covering the cost of the hot meals.

Morgan Sam expanded on the intent of the program:

“We were trying to coordinate so that people can express and understand farm to table. So with the fresh fruit and vegetables that are offered in the bags, the chef can then represent that to the table, and we have the experience, so that people know what they can cook from the bag.”

Gooden brought the expertise he honed while producing the Soul Food events that began in 2021 at The Umoja Center. He also helped Reimagine LA Foundation’s South Central LA Cultural Fest feed over 1,000 people and provide access to child care products and transportation resources. He credits Crenshaw Subway Coalition’s advocacy for transportation justice and The Grandmamas of Downtown Crenshaw’s historic effort to buy and redevelop the Crenshaw Mall with laying the groundwork for events like these.

Chef Sadiq and an assistant chef prepare meals in front of two large pots
Chef Kahil Sadiq prepares meals. (Photo: Ricky de Laveaga | MALAN)
A bowl of colorful vegetables with peas, greens, sweet potato, carrots, corn, peppers, and potatoes visible on top
Chef Sadiq served Ital vegetables. (Photo: Ricky de Laveaga | MALAN)

The steady flow of community members coming to pick up groceries and breaking bread with each other, talking and laughing over meals, is nourishment itself. Basking in the glow of gratitude and solidarity, new volunteer Leo wondered, “How could I not have a good time here?”

How YOU can contribute…

This article is part of a larger monthly resource called the Dispatch, compiled by Mutual Aid LA Network (MALAN). In addition to featuring a group, the listings section of each Dispatch highlights other local mutual aid organizations, by amplifying their work in the community, the resources they have to distribute, and the support they need for their work. You can view the latest Dispatch in full in the archive and on our Instagram @mutualaidla.