Dion Harrison, a passionate TangoTab user and Frisco’s Feed The City Host, recently sat down with us to share his learning about hunger in the U.S. and his passion for joining TangoTab’s mission to end hunger.
After moving to Dallas a few years ago, Harrison joined a MeetUp group to get better acquainted with his new surroundings and to explore local volunteer opportunities. Through the group he learned about TangoTab and our mission to end hunger, here at home.
TangoTab is an app that provides its users with the ability to check-in at partner restaurants. For every check-in– and at no cost to the users– TangoTab donates the equivalent cost of a meal to partner organizations that feed people in need in the city where the check-in occurs.
TangoTab also hosts Feed The City volunteer events. These gatherings bring people together to make meals that are provided directly to local hunger relief organizations, which distribute the meals to people in need.
Harrison’s first exposure to TangoTab was when he took part in a Dallas Feed The City Event. Here are some highlights of our conversation with Harrison:
The Prevalence of Hunger Is Truly Shocking
At his first event, Harrison says, “There was a lot of energy, and there were a lot of people excited about being there.” He recalls being surprised by some of the hunger statistics that were presented during the event, which inspired him to learn more about hunger’s impact.
“I did not realize how prevalent hunger is in the DFW area. I was shocked because this is a major and affluent metropolitan area. How is it that this is the 9th largest city for food insecurity? It made no sense to me.”
After leaving the event, Harrison decided to research the issue of hunger further. He wanted to learn more about how much feeding those in need actually made a difference.
Those In Need Are Also Real People With Real Potential
As Harrison dug deeper into the hunger crisis in America, he found himself wanting to connect with the people behind the stats.
Dion began volunteering with shelters and soup kitchens to pass out meals to people in need. Sometimes, after serving, he would talk to some of the people, who received food through the line, to hear more about their stories.
“These were normal stories… someone who just had a bad run where they lost their job and didn’t have enough resources to get it back together. Another had a very specific job skill and because of advancements in technology, that skill is no longer used.”
Through his conversations with the people he served, Harrison realized how much potential, intelligence, gratitude, and persistence many of the people he met had. He says, “These people aren’t aliens, they are people, too.”
One of the most impactful stories Harrison shared is a story of a child who failed school on purpose so that he would be required to go to summer school. Summer school guaranteed that he would have access to at least one meal during the day during the summer months.
“People do things to get food that ultimately disadvantage them, so if we can just give them food, then it has a huge ripple-effect,” Harrison says.
For Harrison, it’s important for people to know that the kid he met failing school on purpose has incredible potential to offer his community something amazing one day. However, “This is a kid who might miss an opportunity to get a scholarship, go to college and do something great… all because he is hungry.”
Taking Care of Someone Else’s Food Needs Has a Much Bigger Impact Than You Might Think
Harrison says, “It really hit me that just giving people something as simple as a meal can help them feel encouraged and find some hope so they could focus on becoming self-sufficient rather than worry about food.”
A high percentage of people live paycheck-to-paycheck (an estimated 8 out of 10 Americans). Harrison says that, “these people don’t have savings to absorb an event, like a medical issue or even a flat tire. If they don’t have a safety net, they are sixty day from being homeless. Once they get in that position, it’s very hard for them to get out of it.”
Harrison believes that when people know that they can rely on organizations to temporarily help them and their families cover their food needs, they have a little bit of breathing room. In Harrison’s words, “This allows them to get their feet under them.”
We All Need To Rally Behind The TangoTab App
There are approximately 46 million Americans who face hunger or food insecurity, and solving this issue is on Harrison’s mind often these days:
“You add the impact the TangoTab app has daily on top of the meals we make at Feed The City Events… I believe we could really make it so that the meals going to people in need are so pervasive, that we can eventually reduce the number of people struggling with hunger.”
Harrison hopes that more and more people join TangoTab’s mission to end hunger because “the broader outreach of the app and the ability it has to attract volumes can have a huge impact. I’m all about quantity here because we are talking about so many people going hungry.”
The TangoTab app has provided over 2.1 million meals to people in need so far. Help us bring this number to 3 million.
Ending Hunger Helps Solve Other Issues, Too
Giving those in need an opportunity to have their food needs met so that they can become self-sustaining, leads to other positive changes. Harrison comments:
“It’s important for those in need to be able to sit down and have a meal with their families… even that can have a big impact on how close those families are, and how close-knit their neighborhoods are. Feeding people can have such a huge impact on our lives and communities.”
Big thanks to Dion Harrison for sharing his thoughts with us and for being a passionate member of our mission to end hunger.
Join the fight to end hunger and download the TangoTab app today. It’s completely free to download and use!