Celebrating five years of championing hunger relief, the HungerMitao movement announced today that it has enabled more than 50 million nutritious meals to children, seniors, veterans, and families facing hunger across the country through Feeding America and its network of over 200 Food Banks. HungerMitao is a volunteer-driven grassroots movement working to mobilize and galvanize communities, starting with the Indian American community, in the fight against hunger across the USA.
Since its inception in September 2017 by Plano-based founders Raj and Aradhana (Anna) Asava, HungerMitao has provided access to more than 15 million meals to children and families facing hunger in North Texas through donated and pledged funds as well as volunteer service hours at the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). In the Fall of 2021, HungerMitao made a commitment of $150,000 over two years to NTFB through the sponsorship of a food distribution truck.
“Through HungerMitao, the Indian American diaspora is helping bridge the hunger gap in Texas and across the country,” said Raj Asava, co-founder of HungerMitao. “For the 1 in 8 North Texans experiencing food insecurity, it is critical that we continue our work to provide children, adults and seniors with a hunger-free future.”
As the impact of HungerMitao has grown, so too, has its reach, expanding the movement’s presence to food banks in the Tarrant County area of DFW, Houston, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit. The response from the Indian community has been tremendous and plans for additional chapters are underway, along with ongoing support from Feeding America.
“Who would have dreamed that five years ago when we met with Raj and Anna Asava about supporting their idea of activating the Indian American Community to close the hunger gap in North Texas, their vision would not only expand across the country but would become a model for other groups to engage in our mission,” said Trisha Cunningham, President and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank. “Thank you HungerMitao for recognizing the growing issue of hunger and your continued support and commitment to addressing this complex problem.”
The idea of HungerMitao arose seven years ago when the Asavas met with the mayor of Plano, Texas, and learned about the hunger issues in Plano and Collin County. They were shocked to learn that in a visibly affluent area, many children even in the schools their children attended went hungry. The scale and efficiency of the North Texas Food Bank impressed them. The Asavas decided to support the North Texas Food Bank through their personal donations as well as committing their own time to inspire and engage the Indian American community with their local food banks.
“We quickly learned that many people in the Indian American community may not have been aware of the deep issue of hunger around us, so we committed to raising hunger awareness in the community. We named the movement HungerMitao, which means wipe out hunger,” said Aradhana (Anna) Asava, co-founder HungerMitao. “If our entire community confronted the issue in unison, we could make a significant impact against hunger. It is gratifying to see that the Indian American community has unified to make an impact and has emerged as an empathetic and influential group that also gives where they live.”
Sonia Elhence, the new co-chair of HungerMitao, is excited to help grow the movement. “It is a privilege to join the HungerMitao movement and be a partner in the fight against hunger in America,” said Elhence. “HungerMitao has seen success in mobilizing the Indian American community in North Texas, however, millions of meals are still needed as the demand in the community remains significant.”
“We have an entire community to thank for stepping up, joining forces and declaring a war against hunger in our adopted land,” said Raj Asava. “We are very appreciative of the leadership of the North Texas Food Bank for trusting us to launch and grow this first-of-its-kind community-driven model. The results speak for themselves, and we are encouraged to see other communities embracing this model.”
Other culture-based affinity groups have stepped up, following in HungerMitao’s footsteps. Nihao, the Chinese American diaspora, has learned from the HungerMitao model, and more recently, SinHambre, the Latino/Hispanic community has committed to the fight against hunger. For more information about the team behind HungerMitao, visit www.ntfb.org/hungermitao