World Kindness Day was introduced in 1998 to highlight the positive impact of good deeds and to promote the importance of being kind to others, including animals. This year, we’re celebrating by putting the spotlight on vegan nonprofits, many of which work to not only benefit farmed and endangered animals, but also to positively impact citizens across the globe who live in low-income communities, as well as those who are victims of natural disasters. A number of these organizations accept online donations and offer volunteer opportunities for those who would like to get involved. Here are 10 vegan nonprofits you should know about!
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When Michelle Carrera couldn’t find a soup kitchen that served a vegan Thanksgiving meal, she decided to take matters into her own hands by preparing chili in her apartment kitchen to take directly to her NYC community—thus, Chilis On Wheels was born! The vegan nonprofit now operates throughout the US and aims to make veganism more accessible in low-income communities through meal shares, clothing drives, a micro-sanctuary for farmed animals, youth engagement, and workshops that include everything from talks on veganism to food demos.
On Thanksgiving Day, Chilis On Wheels will host a Thanksgiving Community Feast where the organization will serve over a thousand meals to New Yorkers in Tompkins Square Park, offering not only free vegan food, but also clothing, cruelty-free personal care items, and information on veganism as well as social service resources.
When we gather with friends and family, food is often at the center of these happy occasions—so what better way to express love and peace than through delicious vegan-friendly eats? Food Not Bombs uses this idea to take a stand against poverty and war by sourcing food that would otherwise be thrown away from grocery stores, bakeries, and markets, and then preparing plant-based and vegetarian meals for anyone who is hungry. The nonprofit serves meals in over 1,000 cities and 65 countries across the globe, and also provides food and supplies to the survivors of natural disasters, as well as participants of occupations, strikes, marches, and protests.
This LA-based nonprofit aims to end hunger by providing not only food, but also yoga classes, community parties, and opportunities that empower the mind, body, and spirit of the unhoused community. Led by LaRayia Gaston, the founder and executive director, Lunch On Me (LOM) picks up plant-based leftovers from organic markets that then get packaged and served to the unhoused on LA’s Skid Row. LOM serves organic vegan meals six days a week, reaching 10,000 people per month. The nonprofit also hosts a monthly “Love Without Reason Block Party,” in which they offer delicious meals, free haircuts, and manicures. Like any good party, each event features a DJ that allows guests to dance and jam to their favorite music!
Making a positive impact on the world can often be as simple as what you choose to put on your plate, which is why the Food Empowerment Project (F.E.P.) works to promote the power of one’s food choices. The nonprofit offers educational resources on ethical veganism and recently launched a Vegan Mexican Food booklet full of tasty plant-based recipes (available in both English and Spanish). In addition to providing information on veganism, F.E.P. works with focus groups and local organizations in low-income communities to survey access to healthy foods, and then reports their findings to public officials to encourage policy changes. The group also urges consumers to recognize the unjust forms of child labor present in the chocolate industry, and informs citizens on which brands to support and which to avoid through the Chocolate List app (available for Apple and Android devices in English, Spanish, and German).
The first-ever animal rescue in South America and based in Colombia, Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary has been saving and rehabilitating over 700 animals of all kinds since 2006. Born from then 5 year-old Julianna’s dream to create a safe haven for animals, the sanctuary now operates at an international level and is registered as a nonprofit in the United States. Additionally, the organization offers educational programs on veganism through vegan cooking workshops, vegan comics, vegan food relief, and social media activism.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation is an award-winning international charity that encourages citizens to get their hands dirty for a cause—and we’re here for it! The nonprofit is committed to alleviating world hunger and global pollution of the environment, and improving surrounding air, soil, and water by planting fruit, nut, and medicinal trees. Orchards are planted where they will best serve the community, at locations such as public schools, city parks, public gardens, food banks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, international hunger relief sites, and animal sanctuaries. The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation also provides training and aftercare so that communities can enjoy the benefits of the trees for years to come.
This charitable nonprofit has been in operation since 1974, and is now one of the world’s largest vegan food relief organizations. Food For Life Global provides plant-based meals to anyone who is facing hunger, and also promotes animal advocacy through education and support for animal rescue projects. In 2017, the organization reached a milestone of serving over four billion vegan meals, and continues to serve up to two million plant-based meals daily.
Adopt A Reindeer Foundation is dedicated to preserving the customs of the indigenous Sami people, a Finno-Ugric group that resides in Norway, Sweden, parts of Finland, and Russia’s Murmansk Oblast, in which reindeer are an integral part of Sami culture and traditions. Donations are used to help cover the cost of care for the reindeer, which in turn helps to strengthen the Sami community and their livelihoods.
Best known for the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned elephants and rhinos, The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) is dedicated to protecting all wildlife and habitats in East Africa. The group works to protect animals against poaching, to preserve water in areas that suffer from drought and limited rainfall, and to provide veterinary care to sick and injured animals. SWT also seeks to promote awareness of animal welfare among local communities.
Founded by Captain Paul Watson in 1977, Sea Shepherd aims to conserve and protect the ocean’s ecosystems and species by working to end the destruction of marine habitat and wildlife. The nonprofit group uses nonviolent campaigns and methods to enforce global marine laws, and has been successful in putting an end to many IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing vessels.