Raleigh native introduces inner-city kids to NYC's finest foods

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For years, Matt James found his passion on the football field. He's a former wide receiver at Wake Forest. He then played for the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints. But the Raleigh native has found his true calling in New York City. That's where James founded ABC Food Tours. He takes inner-city children out of their schools and into some of New York City's finest eateries.

"The biggest thing for us is that no kids or students miss out on this experience," James said.

From humble beginnings himself, James said he connects with the kids. Many of them are living in poverty.

"To see someone like myself who looks like them, who has been through similar situations to speak to, 'guys if you do the right things, if you stay the path there's a brighter future ahead for you,'" James said.

He said food is the gap that bridges people together and serves up hope.

"The most rewarding is seeing them go to and from locations. The enthusiasm on their face and the eagerness to be around these restaurateurs and entrepreneurs is what gives me joy and shows that we're on the right track," James said.

Right now ABC Food Tours is just for youngsters in New York but in 2019, James hopes to expand to other cities including in his hometown of Raleigh.
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