A Gift of a Mobile Kitchen to Help Tzu Chi USA Offer Hot Meals

National Headquarters  |  August 16, 2022
Michael Flood (left), CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, hands Curtis Hsing (right), representing Tzu Chi, the title to a mobile kitchen the Food Bank is donating to Tzu Chi USA. Photo/Meizhen Qian

Written by Mizhen Qian
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska

“When we received the mobile kitchen, we thought it would help our community partners provide more services, so we decided to donate the mobile kitchen,” said Michael Flood, CEO of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

We’ve been working with Tzu Chi for many years. Considering that Tzu Chi has been very quick to engage in emergency relief efforts in many disasters in the past, we made it a priority to check with Tzu Chi if they would be willing to accept a donation of the mobile kitchen. Tzu Chi responded immediately that they would be willing to accept it.

Making It Easier to Provide Hot Food

The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank donated a new mobile kitchen to Tzu Chi USA Headquarters on May 25, 2022. The mobile kitchen, costing $80,000 to $100,000, will be used for Tzu Chi’s future emergency relief work in the United States. It will make it easier for volunteers to cook directly at disaster sites and distribute hot food to survivors. The mobile kitchen is inside a converted 20-foot-long container and contains a complete and practical set of home kitchen facilities. Four additional wheels allow a vehicle to tow the kitchen to where the hot meals are needed.

The right side of the converted container is the cooking area, equipped with three gas burners, a medium-sized oven, sink, countertop, medium-sized refrigerator, and cabinets for ingredients and spices. A special feature is that the cabinets have secure latches, preventing items inside from opening doors when the mobile kitchen is towed and in motion. 

On the left of its interior, the mobile kitchen features seating and a dining table. Both are hollow, so when you lift the top, there is additional room for storage inside. The interior is also air conditioned for comfort. Finally, there is a water tank, electrical box, and gas tank within the converted container storage area.

There is a seating area, dining table, and air conditioner on the left of the mobile kitchen’s interior. Photo/Meizhen Qian

Helping Tzu Chi Better Serve the Community

Curtis Hsing, Deputy Director of Tzu Chi USA Headquarters’ Charity Development Office, which is in charge of Tzu Chi USA’s emergency relief program, was designated to receive this special donation from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. “Michael is an emergency relief volunteer himself. For nearly 30 years, Tzu Chi has been involved with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and worked closely with regional emergency relief organizations; Michael is very familiar with Tzu Chi’s services,” he shared.

In addition, Tzu Chi USA Headquarters launched the Mobile Food Pantry distribution program in 2016, and that led us to close communication with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Currently, Tzu Chi receives more than 200,000 pounds of food from the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank every month and then helps to relieve the pressure of living in low-income neighborhoods through five to six fruit and vegetable distributions each month.

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Michael Flood, CEO of the Los Angeles Food Bank (left), shows the interior of the mobile kitchen to Curtis Hsing (right), a Tzu Chi USA Headquarters representative.

Michael, in turn, shared that he has seen Tzu Chi volunteers on the ground during the Woolsey Fire, mudslides in Southern California, and many other disasters in the past. “We not only support Tzu Chi’s emergency relief efforts, but we also have a longstanding partnership with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation to provide food to those in need,” he said.

We believe the addition of this new mobile kitchen will help [Tzu Chi] serve the residents of the Los Angeles County community in many situations.

The new mobile kitchen donated by the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank arrived at the Tzu Chi USA Headquarters campus safely. It is now ready to serve vegetarian meals conveniently at locations where need be, soothing disaster survivors or families struggling economically, all while encouraging people to adopt a healthy vegetarian diet. 

Your love and support allow such charity programs to thrive. Join hearts with Tzu Chi USA to offer hot meals and other programs that relieve urgent needs.

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