The Summer Night Lights (SNL) program, a brainchild of the City of Los Angeles, has made summer nights exciting and engaging for local youths by keeping parks open and filled with activities. A thoughtful provision of the program offers free food for attendees, which was traditionally handled by a large corporation. This year, for the first time, the Mayor’s office has opened this contract to local businesses. Five VSEDC clients submitted proposals for these vending contracts. All five were approved.
In signing contracts for the program, these vendors—Black Women Vend, IslandSpice-tingz, My Daddy’s Recipes, Toss It Up Salad, and Voodoo Vegan Food Truck—are making history as the first to do so. Each contract will be paid upfront and could be worth up to $20,000, representing a wealth of opportunity for local food businesses to serve their community with an array of food items from desserts, and beverages, to entrees.
The SNL program is recognized as a model of effective civic partnerships and has been lauded with the 2017 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Council on Foundations. Since its inception in 2008, the program has served over 6 million community members, provided more than 3.5 million healthy meals, and created over 9,174 jobs, including 2,220 youth hires. In 2022, the program expanded from 32 parks to 43 participating parks.
Through this partnership with SNL, VSEDC clients are not only contributing to the community but also helping to extend the program’s reach and success.
“This partnership has opened up valuable opportunities like the Summer Night Lights program,” Jenn Laurent, Black Women Vend Founder and VSEDC Program Assistant, noted. “To be eligible for these opportunities, businesses need to become part of the VSEDC network. I strongly encourage aspiring and existing business owners to sign up for VSEDC’s programs. It’s not just about funding and networking; it’s about building a resilient business community and growing together.”