At some point in our lives we hit rock bottom. Some of us are lucky enough to be resilient, however there are many who struggle with reaching a turning point once it hits. Going through traumatic experiences causes a ripple effect over months, even years. It pours into daily lives and hinders our daily endeavors in society.Those emotions often go unnoticed by friends and family until it's too late to reach out to anyone enduring any form of depression. As advocates to mental health awareness and suicide prevention, Chef Brian Tsao (featured on Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped) and Nick Emde of Fat Rad Catering took to the cause by hosting their pop-up culinary event Small Bites of Hope in conjunction with the non-profit organization Hope For the Day. The event was held to raise awareness on mental health issues and suicide prevention.
Small Bites of Hope took place at the Gibson Guitars Showroom in Midtown Manhattan on May 18, 2017 from 6PM - 9PM and paid homage to Mental Health Awareness Month. The event was also joined by Jesse Leach, frontman of the renowned heavy metal group Killswitch Engage who took the stand that evening to deliver a heartfelt speech on what the cause means to him and how others can reach out to help anyone going through chronic depression and mental illness. Jesse spoke up about his own experiences with chronic depression and addressed the possible ways we can recognize anyone needing the help they need and deserve, a crucial necessity they would otherwise feel ashamed to ask for. Brian Tsao discussed how he himself dealt with the realization of needing therapy, which addressed the topic of how mental illness does not mean a person is "crazy", but that we all experience moments of feeling hopeless and helpless. Brian Tsao's speech also touched on how important it is to have organizations such as Hope For the Day, where many who are experiencing these issues are able to find solace with others who are or were in similar situations. The organization reaches out with a reassuring slogan of how "It's ok not to be ok". The touching slogan helps to eliminate the shame attached to harsh stigmas of social and cultural factors, which prevent many from expressing their issues with mental health such as depression, PTSD and thoughts of suicide.
Scryer Photo last joined Fat Rad Catering at their company launch party in January 2017 at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn, NY. The company has since then garnered a large clientele in the music industry through extreme professionalism and high quality catering services and successfully sold out Small Bites of Hope. Many in attendance last week were accompanied by friends and family to learn more about Hope For the Day's mission directly from its Founder and CEO Johnny Boucher who gave a speech as well that day. With a full board and staff, Hope For the Day constantly host a variety of events and have spoken to crowds of hundreds to raise continued awareness in communities all around. HFTD has brought so many people together to show that they are not alone in their battle, that there are others who are just like them who have found a support system amongst each other to never give up and for all to realize and always remember they are worth it. All too often, a lack of mental health organizations and programs leaves many good and brilliant people vulnerable to falling through the cracks of society,with the idea that the topic is too taboo to share or discuss.
Coincidentally, legendary singer Chris Cornell of the iconic grunge bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, sadly and unexpectedly passed away the same day of Small Bites of Hope, which became a poignant reminder of the cause. For many internationally known touring musicians, Chris Cornell's passing evokes the high demands of the music industry. Requests for tickets that day shot through the roof, despite being completely sold out. In honor of Chris Cornell, Nick Emde served his "Louder Than Love" cocktail made with Blackcraft Ghost Pepper Whiskey, Blue Curacao and Ginger Ale. The one and only Jesse Leach served as DJ for the night on the Gibson showroom's soundboard and later dedicated a 40 minute playlist of Soundgarden and Audioslave as a tribute to Chris Cornell.
Small Bites of Hope welcomed its patrons with their delectable signature brand of "comfort food", the menu consisting of:
- Vegan appetizers
- Crostini with hummus
- Asparagus and cheddar quiche
- Vegetarian sushi
- Beef and porkbelly sliders
- Bacon and grits topped with shrimp
- Snowdays Snow Cream (Taiwanese shaved ice, all dairy with a snow texture which finishes like ice cream)
The event was proudly sponsored by Sixpoint Brewery with the Crisp and Sweet Action cans as the selection for the night. All other proud sponsors listed on the step and repeat backdrop at the venue entrance included Metal Injection, Metal Blade Records, Outerloop Management, MetalSucks, Gibson Guitars, Uncle Dougie's, Snowdays, ArtistFlags.com, Blackcraft Spirits, All In Merchandise and more. Small Bites of Hope was larger than life in achieving success for an event that provided everyone with a vast amount of information to share with anyone suffering from thoughts of suicide and mental illness. People came together from different walks of life and shared experiences and stories with one another throughout the evening. All proceeds go directly to Hope For the Day's suicide prevention and mental health awareness programs. Small Bites of Hope also reminds us that mental health issues and suicide can affect any and everyone. It emphasizes the importance of organizations like Hope For the Day and the You Rock Foundation so that we don't feel alone or ashamed to seek help if/when we find ourselves unable to stand back up again.