Food influencer Madeline Park relaunched her Cafe Maddy Cab program on Sunday to raise funds for anti-Asian hate crime prevention.
In April 2021, the Korean American content creator developed Cafe Maddy Cab on Instagram to pay for cab fares for people who were at risk of being targeted by anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City, including seniors, women and LGBTQ-plus individuals. With a team of 25 volunteers and in collaboration with former tech company Stimulus, they raised $100,00 overnight and another $150,000 over the next three months from 4,016 donors. Cafe Maddy Cab also received support from Lyft and Uber to pay for 7,842 cab fares.
Park eventually shut down the organization officially just a few months later on June 17 last year.
Park, who went to New York University for dentistry, tells NextShark, “Every single time I see a headline or a video footage of [a crime], I feel a very visceral fear that it could’ve been me. Or my parents. Or grandparents. This is why I started the initiative in the first place.”
With over 213,000 Instagram followers on Instagram, over 478,000 Tik Tok followers and 100,000 YouTube subscribers, Park uses her food blog Cafe Maddy to garner support for Cafe Maddy Cab.
“A majority of my following is surprisingly a non-Asian demographic,” Park says. “I love the community that I’m growing on my page. People are curious and appreciative of other cultures and stories. It not only shows in the responses I get from my Korean recipes, but also when I try and explore other cuisines as well.”
To relaunch Cafe Maddy Cab, Park collaborated with Liah Yoo, the CEO of Krave Beauty, under the sponsorship of Asian Pacific Community Fund.
“This time, we want to stay open for as long as we are needed,” Park says in the relaunch Reel.
A few anonymous recipients during the initial launch shared their experiences with using Cafe Maddy Cab.
“I was already taking out loans just to afford public transport and would sincerely appreciate your help with funding my Uber/Lyft rides to work. I was attacked in April 2020 for race-related reasons and have since been spat on, chased, and yelled at – I do not feel safe in the subway systems or walking,” wrote one.
“I am still a student and I was too scared to ride the subway by myself … thank you so so much for making me feel so safe,” said another.
Cafe Maddy Cab accepts donations on their GoFundMe and has so far met $20,000 of their $1,000,000 goal.