Below you will find some of the answers to the questions we asked Kimberly, but trust me you want to listen to the show to get all the details.
What do you do for Full-time work?
I am a content creator. I get paid to create content with brands and for brands, oftentimes, on their behalf. I get paid to produce fun things that tell important stories.
What is your passion project and how long has it been in existence?
Food Love is a passion project that I created out of Might Be Vegan. Food Love is a national hunger relief effort I created in the middle of a pandemic, pretty much by myself, with not a lot of money.
What is your project’s origin story: Why did you start this project; what was the passion behind the project.
Food Love is something that came to me while I was watching the news and just seeing how people of color are dying at twice the rate of their white counterparts. They're being hospitalized four and five times more than their white counterparts after contracting COVID-19. And I knew that was a signal of something greater, something greater that many of us have been talking about for years. And that's just the inequities in all of the systems that make up this country, from healthcare, to food systems, to education to the criminal system.
Ultimately, in this instance, what's happening is, what's coming to light are the inequities in our food system and the inequities in our healthcare system. And so, as a result, we've seen in addition to the high death rates and the high sickness rate, we're talking about just people in general who have been standing in line for hours, just to get some food to feed their families, because we're in the middle of a pandemic.
This is happening in March, April 2020. I'm watching on the news, how farmers are not able to get as much food out as they were prepared to deliver because now schools are closed, restaurants are closed, and now they've got this excess food that they're remulching into the ground, because they have nowhere for it to go.
And I said this is a problem. We have excess food here, hungry food here, why is there not a connection.
And that only brought me to information that I already knew. And that is, food insecurity is not a supply problem. It's a logistics problem.
It's an issue of the fact that we can't get food to the people who need it, or, and we cannot get food affordably to the people who need it.
So I created a national hunger relief effort. And I say that I've said that already. But I'm saying again, because I want people listening to understand the gravity of that, I created a national hunger relief effort from my bedroom.
I'm feeding people all over the country, using systems that already exist using transit systems that exist using businesses that are already in play. And we're delivering it directly to people's doorsteps.
Is there a point where you hesitated to start it? What got you over that hump?
The whole time, Mike, the whole time. I fought this. So when I tell you that this felt as if it was thrust upon me as something that I must do. I mean that sincerely. Because it literally haunted me in my dreams. I would wake up and be like, is this program literally in my dream; I’m really dreaming about you? The weight of it had me in tears for at least two weeks? I just was like, How am I supposed to?, I'm yelling into the universe? How am I supposed to do this? I don't have the money to feed everybody in this country. How am I supposed to start a national program? There's people with billions of dollars doing this. I have like 20. I mean, I'm literally yelling, if this is what I need to do, then you have to make the resources plain because I don't know how to begin this program. I don't know where to start.
Is this a five loaves and three fish story? Because that's all I got right now. Okay, that's all I got. So, I said, Okay, I'm okay. How can I?
Because there's also a little bit of ego in this, I'll be honest with you, Mike, I'll be honest. The ego says to me, what if you fail, not fear of failure, because I'm not afraid of failing.
It's the fear of what you look like in front of other people when you fail.
And recognizing that if I step up and say it, where's the backing because we didn't have any support. When I started this, we had no brands that said ‘yes, we will help you.’ In actuality, every single brand that we reached out to except for one came back to us in so many words either ignored us, said hey, yeah, we'll pass it on.
I reached out to a friend and I said, ‘I don't, I don't think this is going to work.’ I said, Everybody (brands) has said no. And this is what they're saying to me.
They're telling me that they're helping other people. And it doesn't make sense to me, and I'm not gonna do it, like I'm done.
And she was just like, ‘You need to take a breath. And what I want you to do is write, she said, You are a talented writer, and you are also a talented marketer, and salesperson. And what you need is a proper rebuttal. So take a breath, write your rebuttal.’ So I was like, Alright, so, you know, tears in my eyes, because I'm telling you this whole thing, when I say this was an emotional journey.
One of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to starting passion projects is finding time in their already busy lives to do it. How did you find or make time for your project?
I think it's twofold. And to understand, both, you have to know a little bit about my history. I am a marketer by trade. I've been in marketing for my entire professional career. I've owned a content development company where we developed written content for The biggest brands in the country. I've, I started a little bit of a web design company at one point before I folded it into content development only for written content. I learned how to code. So I can actually build websites from nothing if I wanted to, but I don't.
And I'm telling you all this, so you understand that my background is marketing, is also technology. And those are two very important things, when it comes to creating something that is sustainable. And that is whatever system that you have built around your passion project, but then also, what you need to make it run faster.
So for me, I am one person. I was fortunate enough during the pandemic, in March, April, May and June, not to take a salary at all. So I only focused on this, I committed about 70 hours a week, to launching it, to getting the product, getting the program out there to talking to people, to doing press interviews, to doing photoshoots. Because everybody wants to know, oh, well send us a picture of this, show us what this looks like. So we had to do that. It was finding volunteers. It was creating a new website, a new landing page, building the process that the families would go through, emailing all of these brands. Many steps that went into that; many things that I've done several times before for other projects.
How did I make the time I gave up things? And I think for some people the things that they have to give up are not worth what they see on the other side, for example, I'm not married. I'm not in a relationship. I don't have any children. I don't have any pets.
So when people look at my life and say My gosh, how did you do that?
I don't have a husband, I don't have a boyfriend. I don't have a pet. Like, I mean, you got to see there's still a sacrifice that happens when you get things done. But that doesn't mean that you can't have all those things and; but you also cannot compare your speed to my speed, when you have other commitments. That's not fair.
There is someone out there listening to this recording who has something they are passionate about but they are on-the-fence when it comes to starting. What bit of guidance would you provide to them?
I feel like you're the only person who will know if this is something that you should or shouldn't do. Sometimes people have projects in their mind and they're not actually serious about it. It's just it's just a thought.
But if you're anything like me and where you have something and you just can't escape it, but you're experiencing a little bit of trepidation. I would encourage that person to try something that they can do that aligns them with their passion project that's small.
It may not mean starting it right away today, it might mean, I'm going to volunteer at an organization that's doing something similar. Because what that connection will do, in addition to giving your heart an opportunity to express his or her or their self, it also aligns you with people who have similar interests. And you may find resources, opportunities and ideas as you're doing it with someone else.
So that's what I would encourage people to do.
Because sometimes with passion projects, you're talking about a passion project from someone who's never run a business before. And that in and of itself can be overwhelming. So doing it with someone else can help you to also see the types of systems that I'm talking about in many ways.
Because if you're not familiar with it, and you're like, This girl is talking about systems, I don't even know what that means. Like what she means what she's talking about, we're talking about marketing technology, because that's what I'm leading with. But that may not be what you need as a business, your automation may come somewhere else. So plugging into organizations that are doing it, even if they suck at it, even if your idea is a million times better.
You can't solve a problem until you actually know what's really happening. What's really there.
The reason that I can understand and speak to corporate issues is because I've worked in corporate, the reason I can understand and talk to food and security issues is because I've been food insecure, like I've experienced it.
So go in and experience it, go in and learn. Go in and help. I feel like that's a beginning for somebody who's on the fence. And it's like, oh, I'm a little nervous. Well, partner.
Where can the people learn more about your passion project and the dope work you are putting out into the world.