MANHATTAN — There are many soup kitchens in New York City, but some of the less fortunate can't always eat what's on the menu.
A plant-based meal was served up in Tompkins Square Park at the fifth annual vegan Thanksgiving day feast on Thursday.
Michelle Carrera started Chilis on Wheels in 2014 to serve up vegan chili in the park to New Yorkers in need. This Thanksgiving the not-for-profit organization prepared thousands of free plant based meals to hand out, complete with tasty desserts.
"We are having mashed potatoes. We're having mac. mWe're having stuffed meatloaf and cranberry sauce and some cheese cake and quinoa and it's all vegan and plant based," Carrera said. "We are one of the only organizations that give out vegan meals to people in need. So it's crucial. We get a lot of people who go to shelters or soup kitchens and there is not an option for them. And there are a variety of reasons why people are vegan: religious reasons, environmental, and it's really important to gave an option."
Warm clothing was also given away.
John Joseph was once homeless; he now volunteers his time, helping people get back on their feet.
"To get to come back out here and help feed people and pay it forward is amazing," he said. "I have been plant based for 38 years. So to feed people a healthy meal is amazing."
He is just one of many vegan volunteers spending their holiday serving others with chilis on wheels.
"Just helping these people is healing us, everyone is going through things out here and I don't judge anybody," he said.