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Total loan: $6,000
Milwaukee, WI, United States / Food
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A loan helped a black entrepreneur expand his catering company, secure a kitchen and purchase equipment.
Since the age of 6, I had a passion for cooking, I remember the early years of standing next to my grandmother in the kitchen learning all of her secret dishes and techniques. As I got older, my grandmother's health began to decline. I started preparing meals for her out of necessity, as she could no longer do it for herself. I was raised in a large family, my mother cooked from scratch every day. I learned the importance of quality ingredients and time. By the time I was 14 I was preparing Thanksgiving dinners by myself. Although my childhood was filled with wonderful memories in the kitchen, I struggled with being a young black gay man internally. I found myself homeless and struggling but feeling the freest I’d ever felt. I came out of the closet, a proud black gay man, and I moved in and out of my constructed “chosen family” members' homes. In the gay community, we often are cast aside by biological family, so we create our own families and look out for one another. Unemployed, I paid my way by cooking and cleaning. Everybody always wanted me to cook. I eventually ended up in a home of 15 and discovered that I could cook for a lot of people. I realized I could make some money doing what I loved. I started cooking for any and everybody. Over the years due to LGBTQIA+ violence, HIV, and other reasons I’ve lost a lot of friends who had no life insurance and we have buried our chosen family members by selling food and fundraising. Whenever money was low I’d pull out my pots and pans and turn up the fire. I decided to start selling dinners out of our home.