Global campaign Million Dollar Vegan (MDV) recently donated $100,000 to nonprofit Chilis on Wheels to support its efforts in helping the survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. After the 2017 hurricane devastated the region, killing 3,000 people and displacing thousands, Chilis on Wheels served 15,000 vegan meals to those in need and set up a permanent community center in the country’s capital city San Juan to continue to help vulnerable Puerto Ricans. “We are beyond delighted to receive the donation of $100,000 from the Million Dollar Vegan campaign,” Chilis on Wheels founder Michelle Carrera said. “Puerto Rico is a country that has been hugely affected by extreme weather events and food insecurity. The donation will enable us to continue to offer vegan meals to people in need, providing a sustainable diet as a way to build a better future.” Prior to Lent this year, MDV launched a celebrity-backed initiative—led by teen activist Genesis Butler—to encourage Pope Francis to go vegan for Lent in exchange for $1 million donated to his charity of choice. The Pope responded to Butler, who recently visited the Vatican, with a letter that neither accepted nor declined the challenge. Butler pressed on by asking the Pope to meet with her over a vegan lunch to discuss the impact of animal agriculture on climate change—a cause the religious figure said he is passionate about. The Pope has not responded to Butler’s latter request. “It was very humbling and inspiring to meet people in Puerto Rico who are helping to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Maria. It was wonderful to see how vegan food—as a sustainable food choice—can help hurricane survivors in a country where many people have been forced to go hungry,” Butler said. “Even though the Pope didn’t agree to go vegan for Lent, I’m really happy that many people in need will still benefit from this campaign, and that we were able to encourage thousands of people to try a vegan diet—to help animals, our planet, and our health.”

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