Francesca Chaney, owner of Bushwick plant-based cafe Sol Sips, is using vegan cooking to provide accessible healthy meals to New York communities dealing with food insecurity, reported Elite Daily.

Sol Sips participates in initiatives like EBT for hot food, allowing the cafe to provide $15 vouchers to customers who use food assistance (food stamps). Chaney also started assembling and delivering affordable meal kits to nearby neighborhoods. 

Francesca Chaney. Photo credit: Sol Sips

“We deliver meal kits to Flatbush, Brownsville, East New York, even sometimes as far out as the Bronx,” Chaney said. “I always wanted to expand outside of Bushwick because it is a gentrified space.”

Chaney keeps her meal kits affordable by offering a “sliding scale” payment method. This allows people to pay whatever is comfortable for them. The kits replace the cafe’s “pay what you can” brunch, which Sol Sips offered before the pandemic.

“We can at least meet them in the middle,” Chaney told Elite Daily.

The need for accessible food is growing, especially in Brooklyn’s Black community. According to research from Northwestern University, 23% of households experienced food insecurity in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and Black households were twice as likely as white households to be struggling with food.

Furthermore, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that global food prices recently reached their highest level since 2011. “People might be able to afford something this week, but next week, maybe not. What once was affordable is no longer,” Chaney said.

“I just want to contribute to someone having a good and nourishing meal.”

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