We all stood, maybe 40 of us, under a banner hanging from the ceiling in a big kitchen on an industrial red-tiled floor at 922 Vine St in Hollywood, Project Angel Food’s headquarters.
There were stainless steel ovens, counters and sinks, as well as a tiny conveyer belt moving packaged meals in small black trays to their destination: the waiting, open arms of the critically ill and disabled.
The occasion? Project Angel Food, the 28-year-old nonprofit whose mission it is to feed those suffering from debilitating illness and/or lack of mobility, served their 11 millionth meal. The event was held in conjunction with #GivingTuesday.
For some perspective, Richard Ayoub, executive director of the nonprofit, told me their 10 millionth meal was served about 20 months prior in March 2016. That is 50,000 meals per month, more than 1,600 packaged trays per day.
Marianne Williamson, best-selling New Age author and founder of Project Angel Food, received the auspicious meal of yogurt chicken accompanied by lentils, garbanzo beans and carrots from a kitchen worker and handed it to Gregg S., a cancer patient receiving meals from the nonprofit daily.
The spiritual leader also spoke to the media, a group making up a significant portion of those in attendance. TV stations such as ABC-7 each interviewed Williamson in turn, as Project Angel Food staff and volunteers stood smiling behind her, some wearing blue baseball caps bearing the organization’s logo.
The nonprofit helps “people not only with AIDS now,” Williamson said, looking directly into a video camera. “It’s cancer or diabetes or congestive heart failure, kidney failure. So many terrible things that they’re facing…and the organization still exists, showing up for people, making sure that people are visited everyday.”
For her final gesture, Williamson sliced into a tall cake slathered with icing in Project Angel Food’s official colors of blue and white. Kitchen staff then offered matching cupcakes to attendees.