This week, Chicago, IL-based vegan café Fancy Plants launched an online catering option that aims to raise money to provide free meals for people in need. Fancy Plants’ new online meal delivery features gourmet vegan dishes such as Eggplant Parmesan, Chicken-less Vodka Cream Penne, and Portobello Steak Dinner, along with muffins, croissants, and quiche. Ten percent of sales from online orders will go toward feeding those in need. Owner Kevin Schuder said that the initiative was born out of necessity to maintain an income and support employees, but it also came from a sincere desire to feed people.  “As cooks, it makes sense to put the relief effort money into feeding a lot of people,” Fancy Plants founder Kevin Schuder told VegNews. “Even $100 can make a lot of Italian White Bean, Potato, and Kale Soup.” When Schuder first started cooking professionally at vegan restaurant Millennium in San Francisco in 2006, he was creating lavish meals for special occasions. “I was learning so much about what being a professional cook meant on a higher level, but I also saw more intense poverty than I’d ever seen, having moved from Minneapolis,” Schuder said. “I instigated reviving a chapter of Food Not Bombs in San Francisco’s Mission District during that time, and it was a very different valuable lesson in cooking.” At that time, he would personally feed people in need every Thursday, and he plans to do the same with this new initiative in Chicago by providing free meals each Thursday afternoon for curbside pickup at the café. Schuder is getting in touch with other local vegan businesses in hopes of evolving the initiative into a collective effort.  

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