Events People

I Started a Non-Profit Initiative Called “Your Stomach Loves Us,” and I Did it Because My Opinion in a Comments Section Does Not Mean Shit, and Neither Does Yours

I am solutions driven, so I love the people who committed their time by volunteering to try and do something. These are the types who put in the effort and commitment, and they are the people who make life great. They get that it is not about a *comment in a comments section that matters.

Anybody and everybody has a comment or an opinion to make about 5G, Afghanistan, sports, a non-profit initiative, to vaccines, regardless if they know something to nothing about the subject matter. With so much conjecture in the world, it is no wonder why the media is struggling to stay relevant. Everybody is touting that they know, or they are myopically chasing those likes by distracting your focus with piled-up milk crates. All of which I find disconcerting because we live in a world where we can not get beyond our ego’s career goals or wanting to be instafamous, an exception if you are the Dodo, you deserve those likes.

*Also funny comments are excluded from my rant, they are welcome, and they are why you read through the comments section.

No need for t-shirts because these 4″ stickers are one size fits all (one small tiny detail to maximize the donations towards food).

What Is the Point of It All (You Know, Life)

I lived in a world where I helped build several well-known brands/companies. The companies I was at had either a sociopath to a Euro-douche owner that was either retired, semi-retired, or living quite comfortably. Now I am sure they all believe their cars, homes, watches, etc., are what defines their success and has them feeling special that they had achieved this due to being smarter or better than everybody else. Except, they can all learn a thing or two from Warren Buffet, who never saw it that way (I will have to find the video, but this article on Buffet is good).

As for me, I am constantly thinking about how the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, how dinosaurs roamed the planet 165 million years, to our human ancestors going back approximately 6 million years, although the modern form of humans is only 200,000 years old. Also, if you are an American, the United States is only 245 years old, slavery ended 156 years ago, the civil rights movement was 53 years ago, and the World Wide Web is 30 years old. So when I hear people act like that’s how things have always been, I can not help but laugh because our existence is only in a blink of an eye (only two to at most four generations will remember we ever existed). So to use our time only to make ourselves feel special and not every possible person is a pathetic use of that time.

“If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

Not the exact quote by Eldridge Cleaver

The actual quote by the way is supposedly: “there is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”

I Have To Remind Myself That if We Are Not Trying to Positively Contribute, the World Can Do Without Us and Our Thoughts Publicly

The comment section seems to be everywhere and we need less of it. I mean, it does not stop at the comments section and everybody seems to think what they think matters (like the complaint to a Reddit moderator). Yea it does not, because the way I see it, if you do not put in the time to own it, or understand the subject matter, you really need to STFU.

Yea, no matter how smart we think we are, our off-the-cuff comments just do not cut it. Unfortunately, that will not stop everybody from commenting, and these comment sections keep eliciting people’s ill-informed thoughts. After all, this section is their opportunity to flex what they think they know, their time to think out loud, or the worst, to proudly state what they think, and “nothing will change my mind.”

Karl put in that local hustle between his multiple jobs to have these door promos posted throughout the neighborhood.

Yo Bro, “Isn’t Your Blog Filled With Your Opinion?”

If it was filled primarily with my opinion, I would have to know how to write. Unfortunately, I do not, so this post is the most openly opinionated I have been and I am struggling to write it because I started it a week ago.

The vast majority of my content is research based and it is one reason why this blog does 16-21k unique visitors/visitors per month because nobody wants to really hear my opinion or somebody who is talking out of their ass (you can get that from the guy/person sitting next to you, or your own thoughts).

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” 

– John Stuart Mill (not Edmund Burke?)

When You Decide To Get Off Your Ass, Be Prepared To Be Be Crapped on Regardless How Good Your Intentions Are. I Got Reminded of Just That Recently, so I Go Through Phases Where I Ask Myself “What Is the Point of Doing Anything?” Well, This Is the One Thing That Keeps Me Going

If you have ever competed or done any sort of competitive sport or event, you will be no stranger to failure or losing. As a kid who had competed in judo to a couple Iron Kids marathons, if I did not lose or finish, I always had one of my parents letting me know that “all the white kids will beat you.” So I am no stranger to challenges when you have no one on your side cheering you on. Well, there was that random lady during the marathon that cheered me on (thank you), but what keeps me going is everybody who gives a shit.

We did everything possible to try and minimize lines by directly providing nearby organizations such as Harlem United to RDJ Refugee Shelter with 240 servings. #heroacademia

I see all the division and the media outlets posting attack after attack, yet I see no viable solutions addressing the root of the hate and violence.

“Please note, if you have not noticed by now, I suck at writing. I struggle with putting my thoughts down in a coherent and succinct manner which is why I like to try and keep things short/simple. I will try and not get too deep into what I think the issue is, although I will say I have a good idea of what is contributing to the violence and crime. It rhymes with “randemic” and the economic impact it has had on people and communities (the government knows this because when have they ever given money out? Never? Well, now you know how bad it is)”

If you are going to address any problem, you have to try and understand the root of the problem unless you want to write them off as “evil” in a simplistic and abstract way of thinking. Except that will not get us anywhere, and we need to get past our assumptions, which is related to something I constantly tout to any team I have managed over, and they have all heard me say “do not come up with solutions to problems that do not exist.” Although, in this case, let’s just make sure peoples basic needs are met.

Yea, I know, a ton of people who are unfazed by the last year, but their experience is not reflective of everybody else’s experience, and if you are so self-centered you can not fathom anybody else hurting, GTFO. On top of that we have the legacy media who does not care about resolution or reporting any positivity because their credo is “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Get Out of the Comments Section or Posting Another Selfie of You in Your Underwear and Join Us

I want to take on all these issues because I know there are others who give a crap. It is also the reason I put this all out there. For starters, I am not protective of an idea because an idea is nothing if you do not have a way of executing or carrying out that idea. So what I consider the most valuable resource is YOU, or other capable and passionate people that look great or don’t look great in their underwear.

Our goal was to put the food in the hands of people without them having to work their schedule around us. It was also the reason we chose Sunday and Monday. Sunday for the 9 to 5 and Monday for the service industry.

I Love What I Do Because It Attracts Other Like Minded Individuals Who Give a Crap and Are Passionate About What They Do Because “Birds of a Feather, Flock Together”

I really go out of my way to interact and get to know people although if it is not reciprocated I am not phased by it, and I am actually happy for it. The reason being, that person or entity filters themselves out because the people you will truly appreciate are the ones where things just happen with ease.

There Were a Number of Challenges We Had To Address

People tend to abstract and simplify things down to the point they could understand, which leaves a lot of nuances out. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details (not as simple as it looks), so before concluding on the approach below, I had some learning to do. I had to learn about food banks, soup kitchens, EBC, to how organizations feed people. The industry is all new to me, although if it were not for a high school friend’s mom I would have no clue what a “soup kitchen” was (P. Harrington).

At one point, we had considered just donating to a food bank, but that would have been against what we had touted to our donors (to provide curated bento boxes). So with the pandemic still impacting restaurant operations, I had considered distributing non-perishable goods. Except, we did not excel at distribution which did not capitalize on any of our strengths. All of these factors, along with being mindful of food safety, especially “time and temperature,” finally led me to a potential solution.

The Proposed Solution

I am still a noob in the food and restaurant industry, so I knew it was better to assist the OG’s still hanging in there. That way I could benefit them all with my decades of branding and marketing experience versus competing against them as a hack pop-up. So after some research and thought, the approach was:

  1. To bring people together through food. Sharing a meal can have a positive impact on people who come from differing cultures. Except, if you are in the comments section you might cite one such instance in Gustavo Arellano’s great article “Love the Beans, Hate the Beaner. A worthwhile read because regardless if they call food trucks roach coaches or stigmatize MSG. In the end, it is a cultural bridge that helps to bring us all together.
  2. To assist the restaurants that have been affected by the pandemic. I shut down my pop-up, and now my living room is filled with equipment from pans, a meat slicer, to a commercial sous-vide, but this is nothing compared to what many restaurant owners have invested (I can bet you, it is a whole lot more).
I do not want to get into the details, but I will tell you that Go!Go! Curry! America is amazing on a management level. They are the reason why we were able to provide Harlem with a 1,000 katsu (deep-fried chicken cutlet) curry servings.

So I Want To Use This Page To Thank Everybody Who So Selflessly and Effortlessly Contributed either Through Donations or Their Expertise

I also want to point out that many of these individuals work for companies we had approached, but they knew that their company would not do anything. Instead, it was the individuals within these companies who made the effort through their donations, network, or expertise to contribute to the cause.

  • I would have not taken on this initiative if it were not for Karl Palma.
  • We could not carry out our inaugural event without Tomoko Omori’san, the CEO of Go!Go! Curry! America. She is an anomaly, and a total surprise to have crossed paths with.
  • None of our initial plans could have gotten off the ground without all of our friends, colleagues (even ex-girlfriends), and strangers who donated money on GoFundMe.
  • To GoFundMe and their amazing staff for selecting us as 1 of only 4 recipients of $5,000 (I have to call out Kelsea L and her team for the acknowledgment/being selected).
  • Masae “Tong Po” K. of MTC who helped me to develop a strategy based on her industry knowledge.
  • Everybody who volunteered their time and expertise from Kathy Berry and all of her volunteers, to Fletcher/theHungrySkipper, the GoGo Curry BOH staff, Go!Go!Curry! management (Rony, Hitoe, and Laura K), Kim, Michael, Micah D, JAANY, Project Bento, Derrick L. and Ben/AsiansFightingInjustice, Kenji Nakano, and David Brady.
  • Elaine P. at Smartlevels for that discount on one of our orders.
  • Tamanika K. for understanding how obsessed I get with things.
  • Rachel at Avanti for that drink after a delirious week.
  • Everybody within my network that I reached out through Oishii-Desu.com and donated out of your own pockets (I would cite your names individually, but I will keep it on the DL).
  • To everybody on social media who supported our initiative (from Arlene/Arlenethebean, AdrianLChildress, Kim/TogetherWeAreStronger, Charlene/theFreeatery, Michael/MichaelsAppetite, David Cho, Tektite/Reddit to all the down AF influencers).
  • Morgan Carter with the James Beard Foundation.
  • And everybody else who supported our effort, thank you.

All of This Means Nothing if I Am Not Persistent, so I Am Taking Your Stomach Loves Us Beyond NYC, Which Was the Original Plan All Along

I had planned this at the very beginning if you had ever seen our initial press release, but I had to write this in-depth post because I am up against others re-writing our press release for their own motivations to others with little to no involvement touting everything Karl and I had done as their event, wow.

With all that BS, I won’t stop, can’t stop because based upon my number one resource which is people, I have two others that are so much more capable than I am in ways that I am not. So I have been working on ways to work with them, Lucy “Rucy” Huynh and Felix, aka Mr. Tacolized. Two homies I have known for quite some time. In fact, with Felix, maybe almost two decades (yes Min, you too).

“The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.”

– Eldridge Cleaver

I just added this quote because it sounds great, but I need to think this one through.

Yea, all people who care and volunteered their time to spread happiness/positivity (“genki” vibes). Try finding that in a comments section.

Let’s Do This Los Angeles

Hate is not exclusive to one sex, race, a 3rd grade writing level blogger, geographic location, etc, and I am in no way downplaying any groups struggles although I am approaching this issue as a human that gives a crap about others and all the beings on this planet (cat, dog, monkfish, to a bumble bee) while also being sensitive to knowing that all of our struggles are unique.

Paletero’s we got you.

Greg Taniguchi, Founder (or is everybody a co-founder), Your Stomach Loves Us. “Put up or STFU.”

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