During my spring break of 2014 I went with my family to the Dominican Republic to teach English in a school in Monte Christi. We took an outing to the Haiti border one day, and as I stood on the bridge in Dajabon, I could see hordes of Haitians coming toward us with wheelbarrows full of clothing and various other items. We were told that those items were the earthquake donations that had poured in from all over the world. The problem was, the Haitians needed to eat, so they were bartering in the Dajabon market to trade the donated items for rice and beans.
I became passionate about the work of the International Justice Mission when I began researching global poverty and the solutions to it. IJM’s philosophy is not to give money to those in poverty in 3rd world countries, but to provide them with legal and police protection so that they can lift themselves out of poverty. Just as the Haitians’ lives could not be improved with the earthquake donations, people living in extreme poverty cannot change their economic condition without protection.
I wanted to support IJM but I knew that just raising money and donating it to them would not be a long term solution. I decided to start a business so that the profits could be donated on a continual basis. This philanthropic approach really excited me because I could start a business doing something I love, and I wouldn’t have to ask people for donations for IJM.
The concept of Melted grew out of my love for Austin and its street food scene. 100% of the profits from Melted will be donated to International Justice Mission. My hope is that other teens will use this social entrepreneurial approach to support charities that they are passionate about.