Paying it forward because no one should ever go hungry

Merrill Financial Advisor John Yambao of TSPN Wealth Management Group believes no one should ever go hungry, so he does his part by contributing to his local food bank.

John Yambo

Merrill Financial Advisor John Yambao gives to the Houston Food Bank as a way of paying it forward because he believes that “no one should ever go hungry, particularly in the world’s wealthiest nation.”

America’s largest food bank in terms of distribution, the Houston Food Bank distributes 104 million nutritious meals through its network of 1,500 community partners in southeast Texas, feeding 800,000 individuals across 18 counties each year.

Although John spent most of his teenage years in Houston, he was born in South Korea. At just 10 years old, he learned about the importance of food security when his mother told him a story from her childhood. As a teenager, John’s mom and her family were caught in the throes of the Korean War.

“Many in my mother’s village were constantly running, trying to stay one step ahead of the war,” recounts John. “At one point, she, her siblings and her parents shared a ration of only potato peels for three days.”

John Yambo and his mom

Because of her experience, John’s mom ensured her family was always well-nourished. “I grew up in a lower-middle class family, but at mealtime, I always felt wealthy,” noted John. “And that is what I hope to pay forward when I give to the food bank.”

John has been donating both his time and money to the Houston Food Bank since 2010, when he moved back to Houston. At one point, when he was between jobs, John spent many days volunteering at the food bank’s distribution center.

“Hunger is something I believe everyone can relate to because food is a basic need,” said John. “What I do is small, and I am both honored and humbled to be able to do it. I certainly hope to do even more.”

John maximizes his contribution to the Houston Food Bank by taking advantage of Bank of America’s employee giving program, which not only makes donating easy but also extends the power of his donation by matching it dollar-for-dollar.

“The Houston Food Bank values what Bank of America employees are empowered to do, both through employee giving with matching gifts and employee volunteering programs,” said Brian Greene, President and CEO of the Houston Food Bank.

In 2018, Bank of America employees directed more than $870,000 to food banks worldwide through personal contributions and matching gifts. Additionally, nearly 21,500 employees volunteered close to 137,000 hours to hunger relief/food access nonprofit organizations around the world.

“I really appreciate the bank’s match, and requesting the match is a relatively simple process,” explained John. “It would be a shame not to do it.”

Volunteers in warehouse

About the Houston Food Bank

The Houston Food Bank is America’s largest food bank in terms of distribution, leading hunger relief in 18 southeast Texas counties. Founded in 1982, the Houston Food Bank is a certified member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. It distributes fresh produce, meat and nonperishables and prepares nutritious hot meals for kids in their state-of-the-art Keegan Kitchen. It has been nationally recognized for its commitment to community engagement, increasing the number of nutritious meals distributed to clients, and continuous improvement to operational efficiency. 

Originally published 11/25/19