Evan Williams, Sharon Lawrence, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Angela Bassett pose for a photo at LA Chefs for Human Rights at Cassia in Santa Monica, Calif. on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.
Evan Williams, Sharon Lawrence, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Angela Bassett at the inaugural LA Chefs for Human Rights gala in 2016.

Cassia is committed to giving back through LA Chefs for Human Rights (LACHR), a fundraising platform that benefits and increases awareness of local human rights causes that directly affect our community. Whether it’s helping the homeless through The People Concern or supporting torture victims via Program for Torture Victims, both of these charities offer incredible opportunities for rebuilding the lives of our fellow Angelenos. Join us by lending your support!

Cassia Co-Owners & LACHR Founders Bryant Ng & Kim Luu-Ng

Launched in 2016 by Cassia co-owners Kim Luu-Ng (attorney by day) and Bryant Ng (chef by night), LACHR has raised over $250,000 for Program for Torture Victims, which provides medical services and legal support to refugees seeking asylum in Los Angeles. This year, Cassia is partnering with The People Concern to solve the homelessness crisis in our city, and to expand on the organization’s ability to feed more people.

The People Concern is a local non-profit organization that helps empower those who are homeless, food insecure or victims of domestic violence to rebuild their lives. They provide housing, counseling, wellness programs and food to those in need at their five interim housing sites throughout the city, with the goal of moving individuals into permanent supportive housing. Samoshel, one of their Santa Monica interim housing sites, is just several blocks away from Cassia. Our goal is to help The People Concern house more homeless individuals and expand their capacity to feed more people by bridging the gap between food waste and those who need food. The right to shelter and food are fundamental human rights that thousands of Angelenos are living without, and we hope to play our part in improving upon the human condition here in our city.

Cassia & Mendocino Farms staff feeding the homeless at The People Concern’s Samoshel shelter

In March 2018, Cassia partnered with Mendocino Farms to create a charity sandwich, with 100% of the profits going towards The People Concern. From that collaboration, we’ve raised $10,000 that will go directly to serving the homeless and feeding the poor in Los Angeles.

Program for Torture Victims (PTV) is the first rehabilitation program in the United States dedicated to treating torture survivors from over 70 countries. They’ve helped heal the wounds of thousands of survivors through comprehensive services, empowering them to re-enter society, reclaim their identities and work toward a world without torture. PTV provides services to more than 300 survivors annually. Frequent targets of torture include human rights activists, union leaders, journalists, teachers, LGBT and women’s rights defenders, religious or ethnic minorities, environmentalists and student leaders.

Bryant Ng volunteering with the Cassia team at Samoshel

In the last two years since Cassia has opened, LA Chefs for Human Rights united the city’s most celebrated chefs and bakers like Nancy Silverton, Walter Manzke, Niki Nakayama, Ray Garcia, Jessica Koslow, Jeremy Fox and Zoe Nathan, with 100% of the funds raised benefitting PTV. The events featured PTV clients sharing incredibly moving stories about the torture they underwent in their homeland and how the organization helped them find hope, strength and healing here in the city. In 2017, we honored Chris Cornell posthumously for his humanitarian work and original song “The Promise” for the film of the same name about the Armenian Genocide.

Chefs Bryant Ng, Niki Nakayama, Ray Garcia, Nancy Silverton, Liz Hong, and Zoe Nathan at our 2016 LA Chefs for Human Rights dinner
Walter Manzke, Zoe Nathan, Bryant Ng, Jessica Koslow and Jeremy Fox at the 2017 LA Chefs for Human Rights charity gala.
Walter Manzke, Zoe Nathan, Bryant Ng, Jessica Koslow and Jeremy Fox at the 2017 LA Chefs for Human Rights charity gala.

Watch the video from our 2017 LACHR charity benefit, and stay tuned for details on how to support Cassia’s 2018 campaign in tackling our homelessness crisis.