A Gainesville man known for his online food reviews has found a way to give back to the community — selling shirts.
Ken Peng, a 34-year-old food blogger, teamed up with LVR Ink, a local design and printing company, to create a custom T-shirt design. The shirts will be sold to benefit the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.
The food bank, located at 325 NW 10th Ave., serves residents from Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette and Levy counties. With every $1 donated, the food bank can provide up to 10 meals for those in need.
Peng said he has supported local restaurants since 2014 by posting reviews and promoting their menus on his website, Ken Eats Gainesville. With more than 23,000 likes on Facebook and 15,000 followers on Instagram, Peng said he hopes to use his following to make a difference in the tumult of 2020 with this campaign.
“This year was especially tough on a lot of people. Not just business owners, but people, in general, have struggled,” he said. “There are people in the community who aren’t as fortunate, so I had an idea to raise money for Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.”
Those hoping to support the cause have until Friday to purchase the shirt on LVR Ink’s website.
The design draws on Andy Warhol’s well-known painting “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” changing the words on the blue-and-orange can to “Gainesville’s Finest Local Eats.”
Brian Mathien, 39, owner of LVR Ink, designed the shirt. He said he hopes to sell 100 shirts, which would amount to $2,500 — or 25,000 meals — for the food bank.
“I was trying to think of a cool idea that would represent donating to the food bank but would also give homage to all the cool restaurants and local eats in Gainesville,” Mathien said.
In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, the food bank distributed more than 18 million pounds of food, said Karen Woolfstead, director of communications and development. As the holiday season approaches, the food bank’s need for funds is only growing stronger.
The money raised through the T-shirt sales will go toward feeding families in need during the holidays, Woolfstead said.
Woolfstead added that she looks forward to the T-shirt fundraiser.
“Every dollar and every bit of awareness we get about the food bank is a blessing to us,” she said.
Peng and Mathien are no strangers to Bread of the Mighty. Peng has volunteered at the food bank previously, and LVR Ink donated to the organization earlier this year by designing and selling a “Flatten the Curve” T-shirt at the start of the pandemic.
LVR Ink was able to donate $500 to the Bread of the Mighty through that campaign, and this time around, Mathien hopes to donate even more.