Project Angel Food

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Project Angel Food
FounderMarianne Williamson
TypeFeeding the Sick
FocusAIDS, Diseases
  • 922 Vine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Coordinates34°05′16″N 118°19′35″W / 34.087762°N 118.326336°W / 34.087762; -118.326336
Area served
Los Angeles
ProductsMeals, Catering, Cookies
ServicesNourish the Sick
Key people
Founder Marianne Williamson
Executive Director Richard Ayoub
Chairman of the Board Bobby Ralston
Former Executive Director John Giles

Project Angel Food is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Los Angeles County which provides free meals for people too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Project Angel Food serves the majority of Los Angeles County with South Los Angeles and Metro Los Angeles being the two largest service areas for the organization. Latinos (39%), African Americans (29%), and Caucasians (21%) make up 89% of their clientele.[1]


Marianne Williamson founded Project Angel Food


The Project Angel Food Program was founded by Marianne Williamson as an outreach program of the Los Angeles Center for Living, which helps people with life-threatening illnesses. The Center for Living provides numerous programs, such as The Clean Team, Project Nightlight, and Hospice Care. The Center for Living also prepares lunch for drop-in clients and delivers meals to homebound clients. Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson and David Kessler held the first fundraiser for Project Angel Food and raised $11,000.[2]

During the year of 1990, The Project Angel Food Program moved into the kitchen of the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church. The first "Angel Art," chaired by Berry and Tony Perkins, raised over $540,000. The Center for Living subsequently opened offices on Robertson Boulevard. Due to the needs of the HIV community, the demand for the Project Angel Food Program grows. Project Angel Food has two full-time staff.[3]


With the dramatic increase in HIV/AIDS cases in Los Angeles, the Project Angel Food Program directed its mission to focus on the community affected by the disease. In 1991, the first "Divine Design" was held at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Divine Design featured over 50 designer showrooms and a fantasy auction, with experiences featuring a swimming pool painted by David Hockney,[4] a birthday party held at Neverland Ranch and a lunch with Barbara Bush at the White House. The event raised over $1,300,000.

As the demand for meals grew, The Center for Living formally changed its name to Project Angel Food and moved its offices to an old production office on Sunset Boulevard. In 1992, Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS Foundation gave Project Angel Food its first-ever grant of $150,000, and Project Angel Food obtained its first-ever government grant a year later. By 1994, over 100 individuals called for meal services each month and Project Angel Food moved into a new kitchen, funded by donations by Barry Diller, David Geffen, Barbra Streisand and Ron Burkle. Burkle agreed to underwrite rent costs on behalf of the Ralphs/Food-4-Less Foundation.[5]

In 1999, Project Angel Food served its two millionth meal and registered its 20,000th volunteer. Elizabeth Taylor accepts an Angel Award recognizing her impact on increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS, where in Los Angeles by the end of 1999 there were over 30,000 known cases.[6]


By the end of 2001, over 2.5 million meals have been served. Supporter Whoopi Goldberg is honored at the 2001 Angel Awards by Elizabeth Taylor. Over the next few years, as awareness of the program and the need for meals increased, Project Angel Food expanded their Mission Statement to include serving clients with other illnesses including cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, COPD, and others. The program also piloted a "Breakfast Program" to provide nutritionally sound breakfast meals to clients in need.

In 2006, Project Angel Food acquired a new building at 922 Vine Street in Hollywood, CA to serve as their permanent headquarters. A groundbreaking ceremony was held with Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, Board Chair Merrily Newton among others. Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg presented a $500,000 leadership gift to the campaign, with other leading contributions from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the MAC AIDS Fund,[7] and the Ahmanson Foundation. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 15, 2007, marking the official opening of our new building and the delivery of the 5 millionth meal.

In 2008, the Project Angel Food kitchen received a perfect 100% score from the Los Angeles County Department of Health. Margaret Steele took over the helm from long-time chair John Gile as the new CEO of Project Angel Food.[8] Project Angel Food's expanded mission to serve various life-threatening illnesses led to an expansion of territories throughout the greater Los Angeles community.

In 2010, the Project Angel Food Garden initiative was launched for staff and volunteers to cultivate and harvest fresh, organic vegetables and fruits to be used in meals, making use of community gardens and unused vacant plots donated by landowners. A few months later, Congressman Xavier Becerra (CA-31) toured the kitchen.

In 2012, Project Angel Food served its 8 millionth meal and partnered up with skincare and cosmetics brand Kiehl's to generate additional fundraising revenue through sales of Kiehl's merchandise in their brick and mortar storefronts.[9] Additional fundraising revenue has come from Feed Beads, bracelets made by volunteers and sold at events, and Do Good Cookies, cookies baked in the Project Angel Food kitchens and sold at four Pavilions Supermarkets in Los Angeles, California and Pasadena, California. Project Angel Food was under the leadership of Executive Director Laurie Lang from 2013[10] to 2015. In November 2015, Richard Ayoub became the fourth executive director of the organization.

The organization attracted headlines when it was reported that, early into the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan), were volunteering with them by personally delivering food to people's homes.[11][12][13] It was reported that the Duchess' mother, Doria Ragland, had referred them to the organization.[11]

Financial landscape and client demographics[edit]

As of 2015, Project Angel Food is approximately 87% publicly funded via donor support, corporate and foundation grants and private bequests, with the other approximate 13% funded via government funding and federal grants. As of 2014, the program was estimated to cost almost $4 million per year to run. The Project partnered with Community Gardens to cut the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables after their revenue dropped from approximately $5.6 million in 2008 to $4.3 million in 2010. The Community Gardens partnership has continued into 2015 and has produced more than 3,500 pounds of produce since its inception.[14]

Program Infrastructure[edit]

  • Meals delivered since 1989 - > 10 million
  • Meals projected to be delivered in 2017 - 565,000
  • Average meals delivered weekly in 2016 - 10,858
  • Total volunteer hours in 2016 - 32,775
  • Full-time Staff - 32

Client Demographics[edit]

  • New clients enrolled on service in 2016 - 818
  • Unduplicated clients served in 2016 - 2,078
  • Female clients - 44%
  • Male clients - 55%
  • Transgender clients - 1%
  • Median age of clients - 61

Primary Diagnosis Breakdown (2016)[edit]

  • Persons living with HIV/AIDS - 24%
  • Cancer - 27%
  • End-stage renal disease - 15%
  • Congestive heart failure - 15%
  • Emphysema/COPD - 6%
  • Stroke/cardiovascular accident - 5%
  • Diabetes - 3%
  • Alzheimer's - 2%
  • Other - 4%

Ethnicity (2016)[edit]

  • Latino - 39%
  • African American - 29%
  • Caucasian - 21%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander - 6%
  • Other - 4%
  • Native American - 1%

Fundraising and community interaction[edit]

Project Angel Food has been running a marquee fundraiser, the Angel Awards, since 1995. The Angel Awards is the programs' largest annual fundraiser, reportedly netting over $515,000 at the 2014 gala. The 2014 dinner, hosted by Sharon Stone, featured the presentation of the inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Leadership Award to philanthropist Aileen Getty.[15][16]

Project Angel Food has also fundraised through their Bowling For Angels annual fundraiser, in its 20th year in 2015. The program has raised over $40,000 in 2015 and over $300,000 since the fundraisers' inception.[17]

The agency provided assistance in the production of Paul Lekakis' film Don't tell, Don't ask by recruiting activists Bruce Vilanch, Harvey Fierstein and Whoopi Goldberg to provide commentaries.[18]


  1. ^ "Financials - Project Angel Food". Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  2. ^ A Life on Fire: Living Your Life with Passion, Balance and Abundance. Enlightened Alliances, LLC. ISBN 9780977075300.
  3. ^ McLellan, Dennis (19 March 2003). "Founder of mothers' anti-war group dies". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  4. ^ Allman, Kevin (22 May 1990). "Project Angel Food Auction Is Heavenly". Retrieved 27 November 2018 – via LA Times.
  5. ^ Harris, Scott (27 September 1992). "Agency Revamps Its AIDS Services : Charities: Project Angel Food is ending its counseling program. Group will focus on expanding delivery of meals to homebound patients". Retrieved 27 November 2018 – via LA Times.
  6. ^ Lisa Respers. "Elizabeth Taylor championed AIDS charity passionately". Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  7. ^ "SoCal MAC Cosmetics Artists Trade Makeup Brushes for Aprons to Give Back on... -- LOS ANGELES, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ --". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  8. ^ "In Magazine Vol 11 Iss 13 Page 22". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  9. ^ "Kiehls and Project Angel Food - Los Angeles Magazine". Archived from the original on 2015-05-18. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  10. ^ "Kintera Webpage". Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b Kacala, Alexander; Dasrath, Diana (16 April 2020). "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'quietly' deliver meals to the sick". Today. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Prince Harry and Meghan quietly deliver meals to L.A. residents in need through Project Angel Food". KTLA. 16 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Volunteer to Deliver Meals in L.A." Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  14. ^ Driggs, Alexis (2 December 2011). "Project Angel Food Cuts Costs, Saves Nutrition". Neon Tommy. University of Southern California. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  15. ^ Olivier, Ellen. "Aileen Getty receives leadership award at Angel Awards Gala". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  16. ^ Higgins, Bill (16 August 2011). "'Glee' Exec to be Honored at Project Angel Food's 'Angel Awards'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
  17. ^ "Bowling for Angels 2015 - Project Angel Food". Archived from the original on 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  18. ^ Adams, Bob (February 2005). "Man of Confidence". HIV Plus. 8 (1): 40.