Moving from New York to Los Angeles, LaRayia Gaston was struck by the extreme poverty she saw in a part of the city known as skid row, and how close it was to extreme wealth. Raised to always lead with love and be of service, she could not turn away. Gaston first tested the waters in the non-profit world but wanted to make a more immediate and direct difference. So, on her own, she began feeding people in need, one person at a time.
From this simple beginning, while simultaneously launching and building her own design and branding agency, she founded Lunch On Me (LOM). LOM is dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body & spirit of LA’s homeless community. The organization now redistributes organic food that would otherwise be discarded to people living on skid row six days a week, reaching 10,000 people a month.
Beyond providing meals, LOM is also about recognizing, valuing and supporting the humanity in all people. In addition to meals, it offers yoga, community parties and healing gatherings for women. The story of this community, along with Gaston’s time both helping, then living on skid row for 43 days, is the subject of a forthcoming documentary called 43 Days. You can learn more and help contribute to its production here.
We explore all of this, along with the powerful people and moments that shaped her and cultivated the deep values of love and service that guide her.
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