Published November 20, 2020 at 8:28pm
Story by Parker Johnson. Photos by Kirsten Chilstrom.
The rate of American citizens who go to sleep hungry is growing by the day. According to a USDA report, in 2019, more than 35 million Americans deal with the struggle of hunger. This statistic rings true for the Dallas community. The organization Feeding America found that people living in Dallas County are 47% more likely to experience food insecurity than the national average. People like Nick Marino Jr. cannot stand by while there is a problem to solve. In 2012 Nick decided to leave his comfortable corporate job to help build a brand that provides food for hungry Americans and helps grow local businesses. Tango Tab, a socially good brand, allows a person to donate food to hungry Americans just by checking in with their smartphone when arriving at their favorite local restaurant. Now, TangoTab is a leader in the fight to end hunger. They operate in the US, Singapore, Canada, Zimbabwe, and soon in the UK, and have fed 4 million people over the company’s lifespan.
Nick, a Garland native, grew up understanding what it meant to work for what you believe in. “I come from a blue-collar family. I have been working since I was fifteen years old. My parents raised me with a wooden spoon, not a silver spoon.” Like most young adults, Nick found the spark for his passion while attending college. “When I was in college, I played baseball. During that time, I got the opportunity to go on a mission trip with a church that I did not belong to,” Nick remembers. “They wanted me to come down to the Dominican Republic to help teach kids the fundamentals of baseball. It’s funny I actually did not have the money for the trip. Someone came forward and paid for my portion of the trip that would change my life forever. Throughout my time there, I fell in love with the people. I wanted to learn how I could help those that were struggling with poverty and hunger.”
After experiencing a life-altering trip to the Dominican Republic, Nick knew he had to get more involved. “In my junior year of college, I was supposed to attend the University of Texas at Pan Am to play baseball. After my trip to the Dominican Republic, I called the baseball coach and told him that I do not see baseball as part of my future and I will forego my scholarship. I wanted to focus on my future which included business and how I could help people in need. I ended up attending the University of North Texas getting my BBA in Marketing.” After college, Nick decided to focus his energies on using what he learned to help in a socially good way. “Marketing became my trade and while at UNT my passion to help others became my main focus. I wanted to use what I studied to fuel my passion,” Nick says.
While working in corporate America, Nick met Andre Angel, a successful entrepreneur and businessman, who gave Nick the opportunity to follow his passion. “I met Andre Angel, and he was starting this concept called TangoTab. I told myself I could either stay in the corporate realm or leave here and take a risk on a startup. I decided to take a chance on TangoTab, and I became their second employee.”
Since Nick joined TangoTab in 2012, it has grown its reach into something incredible. The TangoTab app provides people with a quick and straightforward method to give back to their local community. When someone checks in to a participating local restaurant using the app, TangoTab receives a small fee from the restaurant and uses this money to provide meals to the local community.
While the TangoTab app provides an excellent tool for giving back, the brand as a whole is growing into something much more. Nick explains, “As soon as I started at TangoTab in 2012 I made it a point to make sure our team and users volunteered every month at different food organizations. We need to do more than just write a check. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We started posting photos of our volunteer outings to our social media. The photos immediately blew up. People started asking if they could join our volunteering efforts so, in 2015 we launched our own monthly volunteering event called, Feed The City.”
With so much support flooding in from the local Dallas community, TangoTab launched an event that provided volunteer opportunities. “We created an event called Feed The City. The event took place on the second Saturday of every month in Dallas. People would come out with sandwich supplies, and we would all make sandwiches. After we had made the sandwiches, we donated them to local food organizations.” It did not take long for Feed The City to reach a larger audience. Nick explains, “We started getting requests from people outside of Dallas asking if they could get Feed The City in their town. We started creating and mailing kits so people from all over could create their own Feed The City. Before COVID hit, we had over 25 locations participating in Feed The City. After COVID, we have 17 locations that are doing drop off events.”
Organizations like TangoTab rely on the community to help them provide the services needed by so many people. If you are looking for ways to help those in need, TangoTab is the best place to start. All you need to do is download the TangoTab mobile app. The mobile app is free to download and is available for both iOS and Android. If you are looking to volunteer, Feed The City offers the best volunteering solutions.
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