Penn Serves LA Helps L.A. Kitchen Feed the Hungry and Reduce Food Waste

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

In Los Angeles, 18 million pounds of food are disposed of every day, most of which goes into incinerators or landfill. L.A. Kitchen wants to empower, nourish and engage our community. They achieve this by reclaiming and repurposing healthy, local food that would otherwise be discarded, converting bruised fruits and vegetables into healthy meals for seniors and the disadvantaged. On Saturday, November 12th, 35 Penn alumni and friends washed, chopped and prepped hundreds and hundreds of pounds of vegetables, while our kid volunteers created 200 gorgeous salads in cups. We worked alongside L.A. Kitchen’s fabulous staff and trainees, the formerly unemployed who are receiving superb training for jobs in the food industry.

We learned about the work and values of L.A. Kitchen, before our training in the proper use of lethal knives. The elderly need healthy meals, imperfect looking food can feed the multitudes, employees deserve a living wage…hunger is not about a lack of food!

Penn Serves LA instruction by LA Kitchen for knife use

Penn Serves LA volunteers watch as an L.A. Kitchen team member teaches the proper way to slice a potato with a sharp knife

Penn Serves LA volunteers with green beans at L.A. Kitchen

Penn Serves LA volunteers excited about opening these bags of green beans to prep them for salads at L.A. Kitchen

The Penn volunteers cried through onion chopping, carefully seasoned raw chicken, and transformed bushels of hideous potatoes into gorgeous tasty, diced bits. Everyone stayed and worked for hours, finally disinfecting all surfaces, washing all of our dishes, mopping the floors and readying L.A. Kitchen for the next shift. All of the Penn Serves LA volunteers left in awe of the dedicated crew at L.A. Kitchen and their noble mission to insure that neither food nor people should go to waste.


Salads prepared by Penn Serves LA volunteers at L.A. Kitchen

Fresh salads prepared by Penn Serves LA volunteers at L.A. Kitchen are ready to go



About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

We have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy fun experience with fellow alumni.

Penn Serves LA volunteers with L.A. Kitchen after food prep

Penn Serves LA volunteers pose with members of L.A. Kitchen after a morning spent chopping, slicing and dicing food.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Upcoming Events

  • January 7, 2017 – Blankets of Love (Manhattan Beach)
  • January 26, 2017 – Penn Serves Social
  • March, 2017 – Food Forward Harvesting
  • April, 29, 2017 – Habitat for Humanity

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Christine Belgrad, W’85, PAR’15 | Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Jeff Weston, C’05 | Denise Winner, W’83

Read about our previous events:


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Filed under Los Angeles, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

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