On Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 7 p.m., Plant Empowered held it’s first summer benefit at GustOrganics to raise money for both Mercy for Animals and The Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore . Over 100 advocates for animal rights, healthy living, and veganism attended to support both of these causes. Guests were greeted with light appetizers and cocktails, and then shortly after were welcomed by founder of Plant Empowered Aimee Batuski.
The Emcee Jane Velez-Mitchell opened up the night with a powerful speech that directly impacted the whole audience. She began with the horrifying statistic that over 9 billion innocent animals are slaughtered in the United States every year for food. She said, “ Not only being vegan is the healthiest diet, but it’s the best for the carbon footprint and getting rid of world hunger.”
Other key honorees for the night included health Presenter Robert J. Ostfeld, MD, Animal Rights Activist Cody Carlson , Fashion Designer Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart and Vegan Activist Jasmin Singer.
In between presenters Gusto Organics served gourmet plant dishes which included a three course entrée with a fantastic dessert to satisfy any sweet tooth! Guests were given several options for entrees from kale salad, risotto with tofu, and vegan ravioli.
One part of the gala focused on Animal Rights highlighting the importance of organizations like Mercy for Animals. This organization is dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policy. Jasmin Singer’s presentation zeroed in on this area, and she said, “In order to create change for animals there needs to be a multi-prong approach. She shed light that every second in the United States 286 animals are killed. She stressed that the law for these innocent animals won’t change without a shift in societal attitudes.”
The theme of “change” resonated throughout the night in all speeches. Particularly in former model turned designer Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart’s presentation she said, “We are capable of creating change with what we eat, wear, and have the choice of how we interact with the world or we can operate within the confines of corporate entities and commercial structures.” The theme of change was also heard in Dr. Robert J. Ostfeld’s speech, founder and director of Montefiore’s Cardiac Wellness Program, which is a nutrition-centered program for the management of cardiovascular disease to those who can’t afford the proper treatment, nutrition and food plan to better their health. The program aims to prevent and reverse heart disease with a whole food/plant-based diet. He said, his patients primarily those from the Bronx have cried tears of joy because they feel a complete transformation from The Cardiac’s nutrition program, and did not know they can feel so good and happy.”
The all-star line up for the night came came to a close with a poetry performance from Mental Health Expert and leading Motivational Speaker Hakeem Rahim. Truly a captivating performance and his poetry, “Motivation falls at the waist side the days that test your love, compassion, have go reach down to …fate is easy from the arm chair to come, show your bruises and scars which show a true character…” was warmly received by attendee’s standing ovation.
A silent auction followed, and healthy goodie bags in Trader Joe’s signature bag as a souvenir for the memorable night which had raised over 14,000 dollars.
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