Buy a Meal, Give a Meal

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BAMGAM.

It’s more than just a fun word to say, it is the name of a global movement designed to change lives of those in need, without changing ours.

BAMGAM. Buy a Meal, Give a Meal.

Though the movement is young, it is already making a significant impact on underprivileged children in the US, Australia and South Africa. Though its founder is also young, he has already traveled many peaks and valleys in life, in addition to many countries, but his grip on God has sustained and guided him.

Brandon Sowers.

“It’s amazing how God has opened doors for me,” explained Newport Beach resident Brandon Sowers. “They sure haven’t been the ones I expected or when I expected, but God has always provided the next step for me to take whenever I haven’t known what to do. He’s helped us start a global movement for only $2,000, and He’s taken me from a place of depression to real excitement about life and I’m getting married in October to the most amazing woman. God has been gracious to me.”

Twenty-five –year-old Brandon said his passion to help children goes back to high school mission trips with church. That passion propelled his purpose for BAMGAM.

“Four years ago I wanted to start a cafe in the Newport area,” Brandon explained. “I was working for an investment company, but was getting sick of it. I’ve always been passionate about community and bringing people together, and wanted to combine those, plus I had access to lots of kitchen equipment. But the pieces weren’t coming together here and a college friend named Antonia De Luca who lived in South Africa suggested starting a café with her there.”

“Only three weeks after arriving there, we opened Leafy Green Café,” Brandon continued. “Antonia’s family had property there we could use, and her grandfather is Gary Player, the legendary golfer. He is also a vegan, and ours is a vegan raw café, so he told everybody about it. It was instantly a hit. It’s a destination café; we have our own garden and grow 90 percent of all our produce. Lots of Christians doing the Daniel Fast come too; it’s 21 days of fasting, except for vegies, and they love that our food isn’t boring.”

Brandon explained that when the café opened, the idea occurred to him to combine community involvement with local restaurants and charities in a way to create sustainable contributions to the hungry.

“I realized if I can eat a meal, I want to help someone else to eat,” Brandon said. “I could buy a meal, and give a meal, which is what BAMGAM stands for. Just down the street from our café is JAM International, and they feed a million kids a day in Africa, and now they’re our official charity there. After three months, our little café was able to provide over 8,000 meals through them. I began challenging other restaurants to do the same. If you look at JAM’s website, they have big name organizations like John Deere, World Vision, and USAID, but you’ll also see our little café, Leafy Green.”

Brandon realized that it was time to return home, because BAMGAM needed Western resources and contacts.

“Unfortunately I didn’t get the support I needed, but my friends in Australia really wanted to be part of it,” Brandon said. “That’s where we got a law firm, accounting firm, and a digital marketing firm, all who agreed to do everything for us pro bono; they really love the mission and it continues to build. That’s where BAMGAM started. Once we had that support, we came back to the US, back to Orange County. But restaurants in the US get bombarded with requests every day. God directed me to work at Roy’s as a busboy, and then they got on board. They’ve been amazing.”

Since then The Lime Truck and The Playground restaurant in Santa Ana have joined the movement, which provides an easy way to help underprivileged children. Every time a patron orders a BAMGAM item from a BAMGAM restaurant, part of the cost is donated to BAMGAM charities, which have been carefully chosen because of their commitment to nourishing and supporting underprivileged children. The US Charity is Second Harvest Food Bank. Brandon said that interest in BAMGAM continues growing as he meets with foodies and restaurants.

BAMGAM is working towards the goal of supporting and nourishing over one million underprivileged children each day. BAMGAM is a registered Australian nonprofit and operates in the USA under the fiscal sponsorship of OneOC based in Newport Beach.

For further information, go to www.bamgam.org. Cindy can be reached at [email protected].

 

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