My journey began many years ago. With my then-husband I believed that I had found my storybook ending: a lofty house in the suburbs, a successful engineering career on my part, and a comfortable income. But the truth was quite the opposite. Over the course of almost a decade, this verbally abusive relationship was filled with more tears than laughter, and had also robbed me of my self-confidence and sense of worth.
Change is hard, especially when I was the sole breadwinner of the household. I would rather lose my house and my hard-earned assets than pretend I was happy. The divorce gave me new found freedom but my heart was still heavy with bitterness.
With the hope of finding solace in a foreign land, I set out from San Francisco for the wild yonder with only a backpack.
My taste buds rejoiced with gelato in Italy. My adrenaline soared as I sky dived in Switzerland. My spine tingled as I explored Vlad Dracula’s castle in Romania. My nostrils were filled with the aroma of exotic spices sold in Istanbul’s Spice Market. My eyes drank in the marine scenery as I snorkeled the Red Sea in Egypt.
While experiencing these spectacular sights, I also witnessed many who were living in poverty. So many people had neither clean water nor food, and this hard truth stuck with me throughout my journey.
Twenty countries and twelve months later, I returned to America with wounds that were just as raw as before I had left.
Sharon. My Friend. A Breast Cancer Survivor
Jobless, bored, and more than a little depressed, I called my friend Sharon to join me for lunch one day. My true intention was not a meal, but to have a shoulder to cry on. When my whining subsided long enough for her to speak, she calmly said, “Aihui, I have breast cancer.”
How could my best friend have breast cancer? She was only 33 years old! Even more so, how could I have sat there complaining about my life, when she was fighting for her own? Filled with shame, I wasn’t quite sure what to say or do.
I was never good with words, so I blurted out the first thought that came to me: “I’ll cook for you, because I only know how to show love with food.”
Today, Sharon is happy and living life to the fullest. As for me, caring for her forever changed my life.
While I showed my love with food, Sharon showed me that I no longer had the right to complain or be angry, because I was healthy. She helped me find the happiness that I spent so many miles and months seeking.
Around this same time, another friend was experiencing her own troubles. Flora, a food maker, launched her all-natural stir-fry sauce business out of nothing but pure passion and her own savings. I loved her Kumquat sauce, my secret to preparing a healthy and delicious dinner in fifteen minutes.
Unfortunately, for her and many other food makers, gaining greater distribution wasn’t a cakewalk. After depleting her life savings, Flora had to shut down her operation. Infuriated, I was motivated to help passionate food producers avoid this common fate, and reach their goals of successfully growing their food business.
The archaic food industry has definitely not caught up with the present Internet age. By combining both of my biggest passions, food and technology, I started coding, creating a website to help food makers find alternative distribution and marketing channels and help consumers easily discover great gourmet food.
With this website as a platform to connect food producers with consumers, I realized that I could also use this as a means to help underprivileged children. While I only witnessed a fraction of this during my travels, there are in fact millions of children in the world that are at risk of hunger. For each box that is purchased, we donate a meal to food banks all across the world to help combat childhood hunger one box at a time.