How a restaurant app can help the homeless and break a world record at the same time.
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Dignity Health old

Did you know there's a Guinness world record for the most people making sandwiches simultaneously?

I mean, of course there is; the Guinness Book of World Records was literally invented to entertain people with inane information while they're hanging out with friends.

Still, most of us probably don't think about simultaneous sandwich-making, especially not on a massive, record-breaking scale.


But then, most of us didn't create a brilliant dining app that saves people money when they eat out and also helps to feed the hungry at the same time.

That's the basic idea behind TangoTab, a Dallas-based startup that connects people and food when they need it.

Founded in 2011 by Andre Angel, a successful serial entrepreneur, TangoTab is a free app that lets restaurants offer discounts, coupons, and other incentives to diners, usually during off-peak hours.

It's a great model. Diners get some kind of perk like a free appetizer then spend more money on other delicious cuisine. Meanwhile the restaurant brings in business during its downtime, making money it otherwise wouldn't.

But it's not this clever discounting system that makes TangoTab special.

This is what it looks like when #YourMealMatters!

A photo posted by TangoTab (@tangotab) on

Every time you use the app, TangoTab also feeds a person in need through partnerships with local food banks and national hunger-related charities.

Every day, there are nearly 50 million Americans who don't know where their next meal is coming from. Meanwhile, more than half the country goes out to eat at least once a week, and countless restaurants are struggling to balance their wait-lists with all those hours the dining room is dead. So TangoTab connected the dots and thought: What if we connect all these groups for the benefit of everyone?

Since its inception, TangoTab has provided free meals for nearly 1.5 million people in need, and the operation has expanded from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to include Austin, Houston, New York City, Oklahoma City, San Diego, and the Bay Area, with more restaurants being added every day.

Food. Charity. Discounts. Food. What's not to love?

And as of Feb. 27, 2016, TangoTab also holds the Guinness world record for the most people making a sandwich simultaneously.

(You didn't think I'd forgotten about that part, did you?)


TangoTab rallied more than 2,500 people on a Saturday morning at the Dallas Convention Center, all of whom worked together to build 32,000 sandwiches to benefit area food banks.

This wasn't the first time that TangoTab broke the record, either. They had 1,363 people simultaneously making sandwiches back in February 2014, but their crown was usurped by Subway in August 2015 with 1,481 simultaneous sandwich makers celebrating the company's 50th anniversary.

The fact that a small company like TangoTab could mobilize an additional thousand people with their team of fewer than 20 full-time employees is already pretty remarkable. The fact that they did it all for charity was even better.

The success of companies like TangoTab reminds us what we already know: People like to help each other.

"Feeling good about your purchases and your role in the world" is not just some passing craze. To most of us, making a difference actually matters — and it makes a difference for how we spend our money.

According to Cone Communications, for example, 73% of millennials are willing to try a new product just because it supports a good cause, and 26% are willing to pay more for a product if they know their purchase will have a positive impact in some way. You can look at any of the in-depth research from The Millennial Impact project, and it'll tell you the same thing.

It's the same model followed by companies like TOMs, for example, which gives a pair of shoes to a person in need every time someone purchases a pair of shoes from them. There's also Newman's Own, which donates 100% of its after-tax profits on its delicious drinks and salad dressings to charitable groups for children.

Companies using their business model for the benefit of everyone? Now that's an idea worth celebrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

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Some of those differences are being discussed in a viral thread on Twitter. Self-described "West coaster" Jordan Green kicked it off with an observation about East coasters being kind and West coasters being nice, which then prompted people to share their own social experiences in various regions around the country.

Green wrote:

"When I describe East Coast vs West Coast culture to my friends I often say 'The East Coast is kind but not nice, the West Coast is nice but not kind,' and East Coasters immediately get it. West Coasters get mad.

Niceness is saying 'I'm so sorry you're cold,' while kindness may be 'Ugh, you've said that five times, here's a sweater!' Kindness is addressing the need, regardless of tone.

I'm a West Coaster through and through—born and raised in San Francisco, moved to Portland for college, and now live in Seattle. We're nice, but we're not kind. We'll listen to your rant politely, smile, and then never speak to you again. We hit mute in real life. ALOT.

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