Transcript for Adopt a College Kid’s Tom and Rachael Sullivan talk giving back
Our weekly segment, Tik Talk, where we interview some of our favorite TikTokers, taking a closer look at the story behind the sensation. Joining us now, Tom and Rachel Sullivan, an inspiring couple that became a viral sensation after Tom started making cooking videos while preparing special meals for his wife. Eventually, this would lead the couple to create a free meal service for hundreds of college students. Tom and Rachel, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having us.
So Tom, your journey initially started with your brand, Meal She Eats, where you curated different food options for Rachel. Tell us more about that, and why you decided to take this holistic approach.
Well, starting when Rachel learned she had PCOS, and--
That was about a year ago. I was diagnosed with PCOS. The only option that we were given to kind of regulate my cycle is to go on birth control, and we're trying to start a family.
That wasn't really an option for us.
We found some options that talked about food that can help with that. And I love cooking. That's my joy. And I figured if I can help her, we'll try to tackle that. So we did.
And let's talk about startling statistics. In 2020, 34% of college students were struggling with food insecurities, and the pandemic only exacerbated that problem. You've since started an initiative called Adopt A College Kid, addressing this very issue. Tell us more about this passion project and what you hope comes out of it.
Starting with one student, when we found out the cafeterias were closed in the dorms. And I'm like, how do you get through college without a cafeteria? I started inviting him over for meals to-- and [INAUDIBLE] to go, and Rachel made a video that went viral.
I made a video that went viral, and millions of college students saw it, commenting that they wish that they could also be adopted and invited over for free meal. So we were like, let's do it. And so--
We had some students ask, and we're like, yeah, we'll do one this weekend. And that started with 5--
And now we're up to over 500.
Well, you guys maybe ever consider going beyond the college graduates? Because I'm in. I need some meal help, with the prep and all of that. Rachel, last month, you had nearly 500 college students come over to grab a meal. Is this a regular occurrence for you guys, at this point? How do you prepare to feed so many hungry college kids?
Yeah, we do this every other weekend. We actually have a meal coming up on Sunday. Tom, surprisingly, I don't do any of the cooking. I'm the storyteller. Tom does all the cooking. We also have students who are involved with it now.
As it grew bigger, students actually asked us if they could help, whether it was to learn how to cook, or for some of the PCOS stuff we cook, or they just wanted to help. So now I have some extra hands.
We also have brands reaching out to help sponsor now. So it's really cool. It's really growing beyond what started in our kitchen, and hopefully, we can bring this on a national level. I think that would be a cool goal for us.
We could use two more ovens.
I'm sure. Industrial size. And of course, it's more than just cooking meals for college students. You both are making lasting impacts on the community. What has this experience been like for both of you?
It started with-- I mean, the community-- Were starting to, like-- people recognize us out and say hi. They help donate. They help supply things. Some of the community has given us free shopping sprees for bigger equipment.
I think it's been cool because for us, we just moved to Raleigh, North Carolina two years ago. And we moved in the middle of the pandemic and we didn't really have a community. And so starting this movement, and all of the people that it's brought together-- not only college students, but companies who are local, who are reaching out, it's really-- we've started this whole community that didn't exist.
Are there any Thanksgiving dinner plans for the college students for tomorrow?
I just put in the order for the turkeys. I'm picking them up Saturday morning.
We're doing it Sunday.
I'll start smoking them probably Saturday, through the night, roasting. Yep, Sunday, we'll have another meal.
Really fun, guys. Your generosity is contagious. And we really appreciate all that you're doing for the community. And good luck with the baby making as well. Rachel and Tom Sullivan--
Thank you so much for your time tonight.
Appreciate you having us.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.