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My Rebound: Moving forward together

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Posted at 11:55 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 09:34:40-04

Editor's note: Ace is blogging about being a dad trying to rebound from the coronaivrus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. He desired for his son to feel both pride in and connection to his Filipino heritage, so he founded the Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival in 2016. Also a banker, he recently resigned from his position – now staying full-time with his 6-year-old son. He and his wife, son and dog live in Plainfield Township.

As the Grand Rapids Asian Pacific Festival (GRAPF) event got closer, my good friend Adam from Com 616 lined up the perfect public relations tour to spread news of our “Street Food Drive Thru”. This is what I enjoy the most--promoting our event and all the great people involved.

MY REBOUND: SEE ALL OF ACE'S POSTS

The Kim Nhung Store donated fruits to be used for a Zoom interview tablescape without even being asked. The vendors stayed up late prepping food from many different traditions. The Ambassador volunteer team was alerted and ready. Even Pikachu had been enlisted.

6 a.m. rolled in and I could already feel my energy rising up. The Ambassador team was facing Fox 17 News for the first of several live check-ins from Riverside Park. The whirlwind of group management, personality management and crowd control gained speed as the vendors began putting up tents and cranking generators. At 10:50 a.m., people in cars were already waiting.

By this time, my wife Jackie and my six-year-old Redd had made it to the park. Jackie was busy cooking food and Redd was dressed up as Ash from the Pokemon series. His VIP role this year was assisting the most famous Pokemon, Pikachu (our festival director Theresa Tran), spread cheer among the cars.

The Health Department representative checked through her lists with Mai, our Chief Operating Officer. Our Head of Ambassadors, Kim, was multitasking with energy while her crew was setting up. We didn't know what to expect but we were all ready to stick through it. When the line of cars reached the end of the outer parking lot by 11:30, I was surprised. I was hoping for a turnout, but this was immediately more than we expected. Switching quickly to add a second lane at 1:00 to handle the traffic, it was cool to see our team working together.

By 2 p.m. the cars had not stopped pulling in. Many of our volunteers were scheduled to leave soon, and all of them needed a break. The sun was brutal that day and there had been no lull in demand. I decided to quickly post a plea for help, because we had cars lined up down the block still waiting to get into the park. Friends began responding right away, and even some in their cars waiting decided to get out and help as they could.

MY REBOUND: SEE MORE BLOG POSTS

I was tired, sweaty, and very hot at 3:15 p.m. when we sold out of food. We were shocked and flattered by the turnout, but there was not going to be enough food for everyone. A few cars had waited as long as two hours. So, starting near Monroe Ave, we walked along almost three blocks and apologized to each car one-by-one.

What amazed me from our supporters was their patience and understanding. The people remained positive. It was a new level of experience between our team of volunteers and the people who shared the day with us. We were exhausted and exhilarated by our new step forward, and I was so thankful. To me, this is what community truly means. We all celebrate together.

Thank you very much to all the volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and supporters who shared in the GRAPF Street Food Drive Thru event!

The Rebound West Michigan: Resources
Arbor Financial Credit Union (sponsor) Forest View Hospital (sponsor) Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (Michigan) Choose Michigan Farmer Relief Fund Going Pro in Michigan Grand Rapids Chamber Rapid Response Fund Local First Michigan Apprenticeships Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Michigan Career Events Calender Michigan Career Explorer Michigan COVID-19 Mobility Solutions Grant Michigan Department of Treasury Michigan Economic Development Corporation Michigan Emergency Relief Fund nonprofit and cultural grants Michigan Labor Education and Training Michigan Northern Initiatives business loan Michigan Pathfinder student career planner Michigan PPE procurement and donation Michigan Rehabilitation Services Michigan Small Business Development Center Michigan Small Business Relief Program Michigan Strategic Fund Awardee Relief Initiative Michigan Tech Startup Stabilization Fund Michigan Training Connect Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Employee FAQs Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Employer FAQs Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Toolkit for Claimants Michigan Veterans' Employment Services Michigan Works! Association Michigan Workforce Development Michigan Youth Employment Pure Michigan Talent Connect The Right Place Urban League of West Michigan U.S. Small Business Administration Michigan District Offices West Michigan Asian American Association