Tavis Smiley Celebrates Opening of Everytable to Help Underserved Communities Eat Well

David Foster, Tavis Smiley and Sam Polk (photo by Rudy Espinoza)

TV host and philanthropist Tavis Smiley wants to make healthy, fresh food affordable in all communities – starting with Baldwin Hills. Smiley was on hand last weekend to support Everytable co-founder and CEO Sam Polk at the grand opening of the brand’s newest location in Baldwin Hills.

For people living in underserved communities, choosing to eat well is often a challenge; for those in more affluent neighborhoods, overpaying for healthy meals on-the-go is the norm. That’s where Everytable comes in, offering healthy and fresh, grab-and-go meals at accessible and affordable prices based on average incomes of each community. With this first-of-its-kind variable pricing model, Everytable co-founders Polk and David Foster are working to change the food system from one that works for a few to one that works for all. Last July, the team opened their first location at Hoover and 23rd Street in the University Park area of South L.A.

On Saturday, March 4, the Everytable team opened their second location at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, offering meals as low as $4. At the grand opening event, community members sampled delicious dishes – including their new dish, Salmon Japchae Salad, or regular favorites: Spicy Mexi-Cali Bowl, Kale Chicken Caesar Salad, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Yucatan Chili, Kids’ Cheese Pizza and Kids’ Spaghetti & Meatballs – and mingled with speakers Smiley, Polk, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Everytable Head Chef Jessica Spear.

Smiley is excited to see Everytable grow and expand across Los Angeles (Downtown LA and Santa Monica locations will open this spring). So how did Smiley and Polk first connect and bond over food issues? They developed a mutual respect when Smiley met Polk during his guest appearance on Tavis Smiley, which airs nightly on PBS. “The arresting story of the lessons he learned on Wall Street, coupled with his work and witness on behalf of poor people, captured my attention,” said Smiley regarding what initially sparked his interest in Polk’s work.

As a friend and avid supporter of Everytable, Smiley said, “Poverty is threatening our very democracy, and it has so many tentacles. Food insecurity and nutrition education are just two of them. I’ve long believed that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have much, and I hate seeing poor people live beneath their privilege.” In seeing the big picture, Smiley said, “If we can make this vision work — affordable, healthy food for all — it will be a game changer in the lives of millions of fellow citizens who are presently fighting a losing battle. Not because they are weak or inept, but because the deck is stacked against them in communities of color.”

Smiley is on board with Everytable for the long-term. “I am abundantly clear about my role: to do anything and everything I can to support this vision of making healthy food a right and a reality for all peoples. I hope to lead our team in assists.”

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Source: LA Sentinel