Did you know that 1 in 6 experiences hunger?
Sharing The Joy
by Jo Stougaard
A day with the WienerMobile. How did THAT happen?
Last month I saw a photo of the WienerMobile on twitter and retweeted “on my BucketList“. In case you’re not familiar with the term, “bucket list” refers to something on a “list of things to do” in life. A few hours later I received an email from Kelsey (who works with Oscar Mayer) with “Ride in the WienerMobile” in the subject line.
After the initial shock and excitement (it really has been a dream since I was a kid!), I thought about upcoming events on my calendar. Perhaps a ride in the WienerMobile to a hot, new restaurant opening downtown? I was about to cover the L.A. Times Food Festival at Paramount Studios, so that was another option. If my nieces and nephews were still in grade school, I would’ve loved to surprise them with the giant hotdog on wheels. Better yet, how about a visit to the L.A. Regional Food Bank? THAT sounded perfect. L.A. Bites Hunger has been supporting the Food Bank via social media and special chef events, so it seemed a good fit. Both the Food Bank and Oscar Mayer thought so too.
The Food Bank had already scheduled a “Family Day” for September 27th, where volunteers as young as 5 years old could help sort and package food for local pantries. At 8am on the 27th, the giant, shiny WienerMobile pulled up and parked in front of the house. My husband Peter was probably more excited than I was and ran out before me. We met our “Hot Dogger” team, “Jess Cookin'” and “Spicy Salami Spencer”, who were so kind and kept us laughing with hot dog puns (put on your “meat belt”!) all day. The WienerMobile seats four guests, so we invited fellow L.A. Bites Hunger volunteers Susan and Chanel to ride with us. As we checked out the WienerMobile, neighbors stopped by to photograph and ask questions. It was amazing to see our normally subdued neighbors as giddy as we were.
Driving on the freeway was quite an adventure. People reacted the same as we passed them (fyi, the WienerMobile is fast!), total surprise, then pure joy as they tried to snap photos. When we exited the freeway downtown and neared the L.A. Food Bank, driver Spencer hit the horn for the first time. This is no regular car or truck horn mind you! When the button is pressed, the WienerMobile lets out the familiar first line of the classic song, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener”.
After we parked at the Food Bank, we all went in for volunteer orientation and then to the warehouse for assignments. L.A. Bites Hunger helped pack backpacks for children on this visit. Besides sorting food for 670 local food pantries and hunger agencies, the Food Bank Backpack program guarantees that kids in need, who get free lunch on school days, have food over the weekend too. Hot Doggers Jess and Spencer jumped right in to volunteer with us, and it made for a super fun and satisfying morning.
Next we all headed out to the WienerMobile, where Jess and Spencer invited the families and employees to check out the vehicle, sit inside and take photos. Each person was given a “wiener whistle” of course, which made everyone (kids and parents) even happier.
Many thanks to our friend Laurent Quenioux. He recently posted this instagram photo of uniforms for his London popup. We are so honored that his team will be wearing @LAbitesHunger shirts during the day shift!
Check out details on his London dinner series here. The popup is scheduled through 11/14/13.
L.A. Bites Hunger on Flickr.
Thanks again Laurent! Big hugs, Jo
On Saturday, August 10th, many of L.A.’s best chefs and food lovers will be joining L.A. Bites Hunger at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Together we’ll spend the morning sorting food at the main warehouse in downtown L.A.
Chefs volunteering include:
Adam Perry Lang (Serious BBQ)
Akasha Richmond (Akasha)
Betty Fraser (Grub, Top Chef)
C.J. Jacobsen (Girasol, Top Chef)
Debbie Lee (Author of Seoultown Kitchen, Next Food Network Star)
Eduardo Ruiz (Corazon y Miel)
Freddy Vargas (Scarpetta)
Hiroyuki Naruke (Q)
Jazz Singsanong & Tui Sungkamee (Jitlada Thai)
Jeff Mahin (Stella Barra)
Josiah Citrin (Melisse, Lemon Moon)
Laurent Quenioux (Bistro LQ, Top Chef Masters)
Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec, The Taste, Top Chef Masters, LudoBites)
Michael Cimarusti (Connie & Teds, Providence, Top Chef Masters)
Michael Voltaggio (ink, Top Chef, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef)
Nguyen Tran (Starry Kitchen)
Phillip Lee (Scratch Bar)
Remi Lauvand (Cafe Pierre)
Ricardo Zarate (Mo Chica, Picca, Paiche, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef)
Vartan Abgaryan (Cliff’s Edge)
Volunteering along-side the chefs will be several food industry friends, writers and supporters including our good friend (and food lover) actress, Valerie Bertinelli (Hot In Cleveland).
NOTE: Many thanks to those inquiring about volunteering this weekend, but we are completely filled for the 8/10/13 volunteer event. Please follow @LABitesHunger on twitter for upcoming events.
L.A. HUNGER FACTS (from the Food Bank website): One in six people in Los Angeles County is at risk for hunger. They are neighbors, children, seniors, families and friends. We help them by collecting food from various sources including retailers and farmers, and distributing it with the help of more than 650 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other agencies who supply it to those in need. When product is donated to the Food Bank, it often needs to be sorted, cleaned and repackaged. We call this gleaning. Volunteers are needed to assist with the gleaning process everyday.
Our mission (at L.A. Bites Hunger) is simple: To bring our food community together and bring awareness to our local food bank using social media, such as Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram. Please support us by re-tweeting, liking and sharing with your friends and followers.
Read about How the FoodBank Works.
For those volunteers that are confirmed for August 10th, please note:
1. All volunteers are asked to complete a liability release prior to participating in programs at the Food Bank. Download, print and sign a copy of the release, found HERE. We will collect the forms from you when you check in. Look for the “L.A. Bites Hunger” green banner. In case you forget your form, we will have extra copies available.
2. Volunteers must wear closed toe shoes. No sandals or open toe shoes allowed in the warehouse.
3. Our scheduled volunteer time is 9am to noon. Parking is limited within the facility but there is plenty of street parking nearby (carpooling is encouraged). Please plan to arrive by 8:45am to check-in. We will have bottled water and caffeinated beverages on hand for our volunteers.
4. Gelson’s Markets is proud to partner with L.A. Bites Hunger and has generously donated T-Shirts for our first L.A. Food Bank event. Volunteers are not required to wear the shirts on Saturday, but we’d love to get a group photo to share! THANK YOU GELSON’S Markets!
From 1-10 West:
Exit Alameda Street.
Turn left and head south on Alameda Street.
Drive south on Alameda for approximately 1 mile.
Turn right on East 41st Street.
The food bank is located at 1734 East 41st Street, between Alameda Street and Long Beach Avenue.
For those not attending this Saturday:
Please follow @LAbitesHunger on twitter. We will be tweeting live along with our volunteer chefs. Use hashtags #LAbitesHunger #FEEDLA to retweet and repost.
If you’d like to donate to the L.A. Food Bank, just text FEEDLA to 80888. You’ll receive a confirmation text. Confirm your one-time donation of $10 by replying YES!
Note: For Every $1 Donated, The L.A. FoodBank Can Provide Enough Food For 4 Meals.