The Million Dollar Vegan campaign gave $100,000 to vegan humanitarian aid organization Chilis on Wheels to help survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. As reported here in February, 12-year-old activist Genesis Butler made an intriguing proposition to Pope Francis: go vegan for Lent, and Butler and her Million Dollar Vegan campaign would donate a million dollars to the charity of Francis’ choice. Unfortunately, the pope did not accept the offer. With Easter upon us, the project decided to pick a charity and donate $100,000 from the Blue Horizon International Foundation.
Puerto Ricans are still recovering from the September 2017 hurricane, which took a death toll of 3,000 people and displaced thousands more. Chilis on Wheels hurried in to serve vegan meals and provide water filters, groceries, hygiene products and solar lanterns. Then, the organization set up a permanent community center in San Juan that has continued to serve vegan food. Butler visited Puerto Rico and attended a Chilis on Wheels cooking workshop for local families.
“It was very humbling and inspiring to meet people in Puerto Rico who are helping to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Maria,” Butler said of her visit. “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’s letter to Pope Francis appeared in major newspapers worldwide. In response, Butler received a letter from a Vatican official assuring her that the pope got her letter and was praying for her, but he made no comment about her proposal. Cattle, pigs and chickens around the world let out a collective sigh of disappointment.
Still, Butler remains optimistic. “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.”
Image via Million Dollar Vegan