Las Vegan Food Bank Seeks Change and Affordable Nutrition

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas woman has set out to change the community by offering something no one else has: free vegan food. The Las Vegan Food Bank offers assistance in the form of produce and cereals.

Vegan staples tend to be cheaper than meat, however, as prices continue to rise, there is a market and a need.

Whether by personal choice or by order of a doctor, veganism is growing in popularity. However, in a desert where growing food can be a challenge and with food prices rising, many people need extra help.

“There was more need in the community due to people experiencing the side effects of Covid and the economy,” said Christopher McNulty, vice president of operations.

The vegan food bank concept blossomed and began to take shape in late 2020.

“The initial idea was mine, but the rest was a complete collaborative effort of all of our staff and volunteers,” said Mindy Poortinga, founder of the Las Vegas Food Bank. “Our goal has been to nurture our community.”

The food bank is in partnership with United Movement, Organized Kindness and Purple Carrot. This grassroots organization has really taken root.

They pack and distribute thousands of boxes of food, with distribution taking place on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

They generate community support and bond with each other.

“It’s great to collect the boxes and meet other vegans talking about food, recipes and supporting being vegan,” said volunteer Crysta Schmidt.

Jim Larsen runs a halfway house in Las Vegas and heard about the pantry from one of its residents.

“It’s my first time here, but I think it’s great that they have quality food because nutrition is such a big part of anyone’s recovery,” Larsen said.

The food bank is striving for grants in an effort to increase distribution.