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!
Launched in 2016 by Cassia co-owners Kim Luu-Ng (attorney by day) and Bryant Ng (chef by night), they’ve raised over $1,070,000 for Program for Torture Victims and The People Concern, to support medical care and legal services for refugees seeking asylum, and to feed and house homeless individuals and families in temporary and permanent housing, respectively.
LA Chefs for Human Rights unites the city’s most celebrated chefs and bakers like Nancy Silverton, Walter Manzke, Niki Nakayama, Carole Iida-Nakayama, Ray Garcia, Jessica Koslow, Carlos Salgado, Jeremy Fox and Zoe Nathan, with 100% of the funds raised benefitting Program for Torture Victims and The People Concern. The events featured clients from the respective organizations sharing incredibly moving stories about their experiences and how these services helped them find hope, strength and healing. The inaugural 2016 gala benefited Program for Torture Victims. In 2017, we partnered with them again, while honoring Chris Cornell posthumously for his humanitarian work and original song “The Promise,” created for the film of the same name about the Armenian Genocide.
In 2018, we began our partnership with The People Concern and that year’s gala also bestowed a Human Rights Hero Award to actor and activist Martin Sheen for his continued philanthropic work to help end the plight of homeless individuals, which you can see a video of HERE. Cassia also partnered with Mendocino Farms in March 2018 to create a charity sandwich, with 100% of the profits going towards The People Concern. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we went virtual for a “Dear Neighbor” event with The People Concern. That celebration gathered a variety of talented chefs such as Martin Yan, Roy Choi, Nyesha Arrington, Ori Menashe & Genevieve Gergis and Niki Nakayama & Carole Iida-Nakayama, along with actors Martin Sheen, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Harry Shum Jr. and more, to deliver messages of hope, raising $234,976. 2021’s virtual fundraiser – “Tonight! With The People Concern and LACHR” – was hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Lynch, and featured special guests like Martin Sheen, Roy Choi, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Ben Vereen. The evening broke a LACHR fundraising record, bringing in just over $336,000 for The People Concern!
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.
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.
Watch the video from our 2017 LACHR charity benefit, and stay tuned for video highlights from the 2018 event.