Open Collective
Open Collective
2023 Highlights
Published on January 10, 2024 by Brett

Our Year in Numbers
In 2023 we diverted over 20,000 pounds of fresh food from landfills and created about 6,000 meals for our community. Since we started our organization in May 2021, we have recovered a grand total of 47,518 pounds of food. This is equivalent to 40,953 CO2 emissions and could supply electricity for a household for 10 years. It takes almost 3 million gallons of water to grow, harvest, and bring 47,518 pounds of food to market. The environmental impact food waste has on our society, while farm workers harvest our food for low pay and long hours in often dire conditions, is a policy failure. It doesn’t have to be this way, but governments around the world continue to choose profits over people. In the United States alone, we waste close to 40% of all food created while 44 million people suffer from food insecurity yearly.

Some of the delicious food we recovered in 2023!

More prepared recovered food before it's boxed into individual meals for our outreach team.

It’s really easy to feel devastated and hopeless about the status quo. It seems like nothing will ever change, as our policy makers do next to nothing to reduce harm or worse yet, they turn out legislation that further disenfranchises our poorest communities. So what can be done? How do we combat a government that ignores its constituents? We choose to commit to each other, to care for one another, and to work together to build the world we want to live in. Our volunteer-led collective is building a community-scale food system that exists outside of commodification in LA. Take a peek into some of the work our collective did below!

Community Days
We co-hosted three Community Days outside of “Inside Safe” shelters. Several unhoused encampments were swept under Karen Bass’s Inside Safe initiative while being promised housing. Participants in the program were displaced to communities far away, often in bug-infested hotel rooms with none of the wraparound services the mayor promised. Many participants report not having any food at all, while others assert that the food is often spoiled when they receive it. Inside Safe has left many people feeling isolated, abandoned, and depressed. Our Community Days bring together people at these shelters to share a meal and swap stories while stocking up on necessities like harm reduction supplies, hygiene items, clothing, art supplies, books, and more.

Our buffet of recovered food set-up for Community Day.

Teach-Ins, Skillshares, & More 
We co-hosted our first teach-in, The History of How Public Housing Was Gutted, with lifelong organizers from Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) and Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND) who shared their knowledge with over 80 registered participants. In August, our community partner Palms Unhoused Mutual Aid (PUMA) invited Housing Torture Trap, a collective of researchers, educators, and advocates who teach tools for self-advocacy, to our Community Day to hold another public teach-in. Hosting more teach-ins and skillshares in 2024 is something both of our organizations are very interested in pursuing.

After several unanswered emails (over 15!) from the Mayor's office regarding issues with Inside Safe, we collaborated with several other organizations to host a press release so the unhoused individuals suffering in Inside Safe could finally have their voices heard. Several unhoused people publicly shared their experiences of feeling abandoned by the city and uplifted how they felt Inside Safe was designed to disappear them from the public eye, not actually provide them with help.

Demands from community members at the press release.

Demands from community members during a displacement sweep by CD 5.

Prepared Meals
In 2023 we ramped up our ability to make individual meals by recovering prepared food from office spaces and repurposing it into individual meals on a weekly basis for PUMA’s Wednesday outreach program. We also started our at-home chef meal program, an initiative that involves volunteers making meals from recovered food from the comfort of their home for our Sunday outreach program. For the entire year, we made 5,976 hot meals for our unhoused neighbors from delicious leftover food that normally would get trashed. We hope to do many more in 2024 as we expand our capacity.

Pizzas prepared by one of our at-home chefs.

Meals prepared by our Wednesday team for PUMA's outreach.

Expanding Coverage
Due to displacements through Inside Safe, we decided to expand our Sunday outreach efforts beyond West LA in order to keep in touch with our displaced community members. Volunteers now visit Inside Safe shelters in South LA on a regular basis to distribute life-saving supplies, fresh food, and hot meals. We want to reiterate that Inside Safe consistently fails on its promises. In fact, we know of just 5 people who have been placed into permanent housing of the approximately 40-50 people we visit; the rest have just been waiting in roach motels with inadequate to no food and no wraparound services. To learn more about Inside Safe, please visit, which shares first hand accounts from participants in the program.

Homelessness is a policy failure, not an individual failure. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise! They have the resources to take care of us.

Survival supplies distributed during the tropical storm.

We thank you for supporting our work. Monetary donations allow us to continue to purchase to-go supplies to package meals, water, supplement groceries, hygiene supplies, and survival supplies for unhoused and housing-insecure families throughout South & West LA.