Beyond the Bio: Jasmine Crowe
The TEDxPeachtree team spoke with some of the upcoming speakers at TEDxPeachtree on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 at the Rialto Center for the Arts to dig beneath the surface of their biographies. In this edition of Beyond the Bio, we spoke with Jasmine Crowe, founder of Goodr. Here’s what we found:
You made the switch from highlighting the act of giving to focusing on giving back — what inspired the move?
The giving that other people were doing was very much around certain times of the year. There’s a lot of giving around back-to-school, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but it just wasn’t consistent. And I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, the people that we are feeding at Thanksgiving are still going through poverty and are experience high levels of living below that line throughout the year.”
It wasn’t enough for me to just sit back and report about what others are doing, I wanted to start doing something for myself. So I started creating cause campaigns and getting everyone involved throughout the year.
I still report and help celebrities with giving, but as far as waiting for everyone to do it to report on it, there just wasn’t enough to do consistent reporting.
Food has been a big part of your mission in the last several years — what drew you to this issue?
I’ve been involved with the hunger fight since 2009 when I was in Phoenix. I worked with an organization that would go out once a month. It wasn’t a church but they called it “once-a-month church.” It was led by a lady — a former pastor — who would go out and minister in a park where there were lots of homeless men and women.
I remember the first time I went with her to feed people and there were all kinds of people helping us with the setup. I thought they were volunteers like myself, but when it came time to feed people, I saw them getting in line.
It opened my eyes to the fact that we don’t always know what hunger and homelessness look like. Here I was thinking these folks were volunteers but, in fact, they were homeless themselves.
When I came to Atlanta in 2013, I drove through downtown Atlanta and I came across the Pine Street Shelter at the corner of Peachtree and Pine streets. At that time it was really, really highly populated with homeless men and women. It dawned on me that I could do the same kind of feeding that we were going in Phoenix. So I just began.
What’s really attracted me to the hunger fight is that people are hungry. I would literally have people wrapped around Piedmont for two to three hours at a time, and they would all be worried that we were going to run out of food because they didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from.
I just believe that everyone deserves to eat. I didn’t start researching food waste until 2016, and that’s when the idea for Goodr came to me.
What has helped you see the big picture in your career?
I definitely have to give a lot of credit to my parents, especially my father. He was always a mentor and he worked with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. As recently as two weeks ago we found a newspaper article about my dad and his mentoring of children at the military base where we grew up. Those kids actually just found him on Facebook and told him how much of a difference he made, saying they talk about him all the time.
It just shows that giving has such a ripple effect. People don’t forget what you do for them. I really think my dad inspired me to be the giver that I am. I was always invested in spending time with him, doing things, and getting involved.
What is your favorite song to sing in the shower or in the car?
Ohh, there are so many! I’m very much an old soul, so I like older music. My events have always been called Sunday Soul, so when I fed these communities I played old school music because it took us back to a good time, like a Sunday afternoon where everyone was eating. It made it feel like a family reunion.
I love this song by Luther Vandross called “So Amazing.” It’s one of my favorite songs. I like “Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes. And I love Whitney Houston, but I am not good and singing any of her songs!
Finish the sentence – Beneath the Surface, everybody wants to…
Make a difference. And a lot of times they just don’t know how to, but I do believe that beneath the surface there is something innate in all of us that wants to help people.
Some are more impactful than others. Some will help one day of the year. Some people are like me and give back 365 days per year. And I see that with some of these events because I often have up to 200 volunteers. That lets me know that people really care.