LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– A Las Vegas woman has set out to make a change in the community by offering something no one else has — free vegan food. The Las Vegan Food Bank is dishing out help in the form of produce and grains.

Vegan food staples tend to be less expensive than meat, however, as prices continue to rise there is a market and a need.

Whether by personal choice or doctor-ordered, veganism is growing in popularity. However, in a desert where growing food can be a challenge and with rising food prices, a lot of people are in need of extra help.

“There was more of a need in the community because of people experiencing the side effects of Covid and the economy,” said Christopher McNulty, vice president of operations.

The concept of the vegan food bank bloomed and began taking shape at the end of 2020.

“The initial idea was mine, but the rest has been a complete collaborative effort of all of our staff and volunteers,” said Mindy Poortinga, founder of the Las Vegas Food Bank. “Our goal has been to feed our community.”

The food bank is partnered with United Movement, Organized Kindness and Purple Carrot. This grassroots organization really has taken seed.

They pack and distribute thousands of boxes of food with distribution happening on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

They are generating community support and forming bonds with one another.

“It’s great putting the boxes together and meeting fellow vegans talking about food, recipes and supporting being a vegan,” volunteer Crysta Schmidt said.

Jim Larsen runs a halfway house in Las Vegas and heard about the food pantry from one of his residents.

“This is the first time I have been over here, but I think it’s great that they have quality food because nutrition is such a part of anyone’s recovery,” Larsen said.

The food bank is working to obtain grants in an effort to increase distribution.