Project Angel Food celebrated a landmark occasion on Tuesday, November 28, when founder Marianne Williamson was on hand to orchestrate this momentous milestone. The 8,000 square foot kitchen was festively decorated with balloons and streamers, and packed with staff, volunteers, and guests. Executive Director Richard Ayoub opened the proceedings and also welcomed longtime past CEO John Gile and West Hollywood Council Member Lindsay Horvath, who was working at the conveyor belt as the 10,999,999th meal was delivered hot off the assembly line to client Tony Rivers, who is confined to a wheelchair after a series of strokes caused by chronic diabetes. Tony said “It feels like a visit with family once a week, the food is delicious and everybody is so friendly.” The magical 11 millionth meal went to client Gregg Shore, who suffers from cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. He said “I am deeply grateful to Project Angel Food for playing such an important role in my life and thank you to all the staff, volunteers and contributors, who have extended my life and the lives of thousands.”
Both clients received the meals from an emotional and tearful, Marianne Williamson, who recalled the bitter-sweet memories of the AIDS crisis and the beginning of Project Angel Food 28 years ago. She said “This organization is really living in the spirit in which it was conceived, and will be there in the spirit of love and continue to evolve and be glorious and dignified and excellent and I am honored that you still invite me to tell the story and keep it alive.” As she remembered those who had passed and could not be saved as well as all who were and still are everybody was overcome with emotion and love.
Marianne Williamson and Richard Ayoub then cut the ceremonial cake specially created in the kitchen by Pastry Chef Angel. As cakes cupcakes and congratulations were delivered, Richard Ayoub said, “I am humbled to be leading this organization at a pivotal time in our history, when we are ushering in a new era in research, nutrition and healthcare savings.” The icing on the cake for Project Angel Food. The City of West Hollywood at a City Council Meeting on Monday, December 4, 2017, will issue a proclamation to memorialized the 11 millionth meal. It will hang in the lobby at Project Angel Food headquarters.
Since 1989, Project Angel Food has prepared and delivered nearly 11 million meals – currently 11,000 per week – free of charge to men, women and children living with critical illnesses. Project Angel Food expanded its initial mission from serving people living with HIV/AIDS to include medically tailored meals, prepared by the staff and volunteers, for those combating cancer, kidney failure, diabetes, congestive heart disease and other illnesses. The mission has always remained intact, to feed and nourish the sick, by delivering healthy, nutritious meals throughout 4,400 square miles of LA County. More than 98% of Project Angel Food clients are living below the poverty level, and Project Angel Food is their lifeline, filling a vital need in all communities. The client demographics are testimony to this, 37% Latino, 29% African-American, 22% Caucasian, 6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American and 5% Multicultural.