Brooklyn-based vegan restaurant Sol Sips is giving free meals to New York City’s Black community.
The restaurant’s 23-year-old founder, Francesca “Sol” Chaney, launched Black Supper, a free food program that provides plant-based meals to the Black community, amid the Black Lives Matter protests that are sweeping the city and the nation. The program will provide free vegan meals until June 6.
In an interview with Time Out New York, Chaney said she was inspired by the work of activists during the civil rights movement, particularly the Black Panther Party.
She said the group was instrumental in nourishing and healing the Black community. The Black Panthers also had a free food program. It was called the Free Breakfast for School Children Program and it helped feed children in public schools.
“Then there’s Georgia Gilmore, who secretly fed and funded the civil rights movement. She had to be secretive because once you’re nourishing the Black community, people see it as something threatening,” she added.
Chaney said during that time, Black people weren’t allowed to sit down at tables and were forced to eat scraps. She said Black Supper aims to give “delicious and nourishing” meals to the Black community. “I am grateful for the healing powers of plants,” she said.
Chaney founded the Brooklyn-based vegan restaurant Sol Sips in 2018 when she was just 21-years-old.
“For a lot of Black people, having a brick-and-mortar itself is a huge thing. The history of distribution of wealth and financial literacy can make getting funding and loans difficult. The disparities are there,” she told Time Out New York.
Sol Sips’ mission is to make vegan food accessible to everyone, especially those living in low-income areas. Minority and low-income communities are frequently located in food deserts—geographic areas that lack access to healthy, affordable foods. Studies show wealthier areas have three times as many supermarkets than low-income areas.
And Chaney isn’t alone in wanting to make healthy, vegan food more accessible.
Veggie Mijas, a vegan food and social justice collective, announced on Instagram that it would be distributing free fresh produce to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) community members in Red Hook, Harlem, and South Bronx on June 4.
Veggie Mijas’ founder Amy Quichiz told LIVEKINDLY the collective is “A space for folks of color to feel safer and talk about veganism, environmentalism, and to advocate for food justice in their communities.”
Chilis on Wheels, another NYC-based food justice charity with chapters across the country, is supporting jailed protesters of Black Lives Matter with free food and supplies, according to a recent Instagram post.