Donate to HopeNet to help restaurants, and enjoy a meal, too

| September 2, 2021 | 0 Comments


Taste of Larchmont may be on pause (again) this year, but HopeNet’s executive director, Brandy Muñiz, wants everyone to know that he or she can help HopeNet while enjoying and supporting some of Larchmont’s eateries as well.

When donors give $250, $500, $750, or $1,000 to HopeNet, a portion of that donation will be given to the Larchmont restaurants that have supported the HopeNet Taste of Larchmont over the years. In addition, as a “thank you,” donors may choose to receive a $25, $50, $75 or $100 gift card to dine at one of those restaurants.

Muñiz, who took over as HopeNet’s executive director in September 2020, said that it’s been a challenge to raise support for the 13 food pantries in Mid-City, Koreatown, Hollywood, Los Feliz and Silver Lake that HopeNet supports — especially when the major fundraiser, Taste of Larchmont, again can’t be held. Taste of Larchmont provides HopeNet with around 40 percent of its annual operating budget.

While there have been letters to past HopeNet donors and postings and advertisements asking for support, Muñiz also has spent the past year grant writing, balancing income and outlay and otherwise stabilizing the 33-year-old organization.

Creatively thinking outside of the fundraising box in the middle of a pandemic has been a challenge, to say the least.

The need is real

Muñiz said that in 2020, HopeNet’s food pantries gave out 4.5 million pounds of food, compared to 3.1 millions pounds of food given out in 2019. For another comparison, 14,580 people received food from the food pantries in March 2019, compared to 42,734 people in March 2020. That is an increase of 28,154 individuals receiving shelf-stable food and fresh produce in one month.

But feeding people is not all that HopeNet does. Muñiz also has plans to expand how HopeNet helps. Besides increasing the options available at the food pantries (to accommodate food intolerances and provide more healthy alternatives), there also are the non-profit organization’s low-income apartments, HopeWest, to look after. And the organization also is hoping to expand into developing more low-income housing options.

Before HopeNet, Muñiz was director of development and community relations at Alameda Point Collaborative, a supportive housing community in Alameda County. She has experience in working in an organization that provides community support, from food and housing to therapy and youth programs.

Virtual fundraiser

Muñiz hopes that she can help HopeNet develop beyond its current scope. In the meantime, she hopes Taste of Larchmont regulars will consider taking part in this year’s virtual fundraiser. She also hopes neighbors will share experiences by posting photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #HopeMeal or #HopeNetLA. Visit

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