Project Angel Food delivers meals and a human touch

| August 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

LISA VANDERPUMP helps serve 12-millionth meal while Richard Ayoub (left) and the press watch.

Project Angel Food volunteers cooked and packaged the nonprofit’s 12-millionth meal last month.

Celebrating its 30th year, the organization, begun in 1989 by Marianne Williamson and other volunteers to provide meals to people with HIV/AIDS, has grown since its inception.

When it first opened, the grass-roots organization, even now powered by 80 percent volunteers, operated out of the kitchen at the former Crescent Heights United Methodist Church at Fairfax and Fountain avenues. Brad Bessey, formerly of “Entertainment Tonight,” who currently volunteers with Project Angel Food in celebrity outreach, said that, when he was volunteering in the kitchen back then, the menu was typically “what do we have that we can cook or put together.” They just wanted to do something to help.

The nonprofit now serves an average of 1,400 meals a day and, in case of disasters or emergencies, keeps 11,000 meals on standby in their walk-in freezer (rotated out on a regular basis, of course).

Dieticians and nutritionists tailor meals to accommodate conditions ranging from HIV positive status to diabetes, arthritis and congestive heart failure.

When asked about her involvement with Project Angel Food, philanthropist and celebrity Lisa Vanderpump says one of the reasons she likes working with the organization is that it’s hands-on. “You can be really involved, you can chop the vegetables and deliver the food. It’s something tangible you can do.”

Last month, I took a tour with Executive Director Richard Ayoub, who let me see the behind-the-scenes workings.

VINE STREET Elementary School students decorate special birthday bags for Project Angel Food’s use.

Project Angel Food does what it can to bring humanity and hope to its clients, pointed out Ayoub on his tour. He gestured toward a table where I saw paper bags decorated by the school across the street. Each one was a birthday bag for a client.

This brings us to the 29th Annual Angel Awards Gala, Project Angel Food’s largest fundraiser, on Sat., Sept. 14.

This year, Project Angel Food’s parking lot will be transformed into a ballroom for the event. Jamie Lee Curtis will be receiving the Humanitarian Angel Award for her two decades of support for the organization.

Tickets for the event start at $500. Contact Brent Webster at 323-845-1800, ext. 245, or visit

Or pick up the phone and see if you can schedule a time to volunteer in their kitchen.

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