My name is Ethan Poon, and I am the founder and president of the Food Lounge, a student-run nonprofit organization committed to combating food insecurity nationwide. As a sophomore at Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, Texas, I initiated this mission during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic when many local restaurants were grappling with the challenge of staying open due to a lack of customers.

Recognizing an opportunity to support these struggling businesses while also savoring delicious food, I proposed the idea to my family and a group of friends that we order in bulk from these establishments. However, as we witnessed the extent of food insecurity within our communities, our perspective shifted, and we realized that we could make an even more significant impact by donating the food we purchased to those in need, rather than consuming it ourselves. One of the restaurants we supported generously offered us free pizzas. We gladly accepted this gesture and decided to donate these pizzas to local homeless shelters. Witnessing the profound joy and appreciation our contributions brought to those individuals who may not have experienced a substantial meal in months was an incredibly impactful experience. This inspired me to establish an organization dedicated to alleviating hunger among the less fortunate. This is how the Food Lounge was born.

Since its inception, the Food Lounge has expanded from a small group of friends ordering food together in Dallas into a thriving nonprofit organization with 10 chapters established nationwide. Our organization’s primary objective is to address food insecurity and ensure that vulnerable individuals have access to nutritious meals. The Food Lounge operates through strategic partnerships with struggling restaurants, pooling resources to provide nourishing meals to those who need it most. By now, we are proud to share that we raised over $33,000 to give over 250,000 meals to homeless individuals through the Food Lounge. Our efforts have been met with tremendous gratitude and support from local churches and nonprofit organizations who recognize the impact of our work in combating food insecurity. Their appreciation serves as a testament to the importance and effectiveness of our mission. We remain dedicated to our goal of alleviating hunger and making a positive difference in the lives of those in need.

In addition to my work at the Food Lounge, I actively engage in math and biology competitions, indulge in my passion for chess, and express my musical talent through playing the cello. These pursuits serve as outlets for my personal growth and allow me to continue developing various skills outside of my philanthropic endeavors.

Ethan Poon

The Founder and the President of The Food Lounge