Food For Thought: 14 Ways to Transform a Community

10/20/2017 05:13 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2017

Do you think the way to the heart is through the stomach? One of our grantees, Kemi Akinola, believes in the power of a delicious, hot meal to bring people together.

Along with Sheetal Kumar and Zoe Hunn, Kemi runs the Brixton People’s Kitchen (BPK) in Brixton, London to unify individuals of various backgrounds with food. BPK collects food, that would otherwise be thrown away, from local shops, markets and businesses. Then, they transform the surplus food into delectable dishes toward the ultimate goal of fostering feelings of connection and community.

Grantees Kenneth and Jasmine Leyva are contributing to the cause of health and wellness through another route — film. They are directing a 90-minute documentary called “The Invisible Vegan” to shed light on unhealthy dietary patterns in the African American community. Although the documentary will cover problems, the film foregrounds the possibilities plant-based, vegan diets enable. Kenneth and Jasmine aim to contribute to vegan advocacy and illustrate the value of plant-based diets through their film project.

The stomach isn’t the only course to the heart though. Today we honor 14 grantees who feeding the world through their own ways..

Since Solange Impanoyimana didn’t have the opportunity to read growing up, she founded Her Voice Matters to allows girls to enjoy the invaluable benefits of reading. Based Kigali, Rwanda, Solange’s program will primarily use literature and weekly-facilitated discussions as a means to encourage adolescent girls to learn, question and dream.

Ar’Destiny Banks And Kirsten Chavis started the Read 2 Succeed Reading Club — a fun, storytelling and story-creating reading club located in Los Angeles, California. Their goal is to inspire kids to read during the school year and protect them from losing their reading skills during breaks.

Ijeoma Ugwudi is the founder of the Be-In-Health Foundation, which provides free health care and treatment services to rural, underserved communities. Their program called the Diabetes Self-Care Education Project will train healthcare providers in Nnorie, Nigeria to educate residents on diabetes in their native language (Ibo) and using pictures to help this largely illiterate population.

THT GREEN, a startup based in Middletown, New York, which was founded on the idea that communities need more businesses invested in the people they serve. They are working on creating CERES, which will be a full-scale indoor aeroponic grow facility with the capacity to provide organically-grown and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables year round to the Hudson Valley.

Carrie Ruddick and John Amelchenko founded New Art Syndicate (N.A.S.) to utilize art as a vehicle for social change. One of their programs, the Library in Asbury Park, New Jersey, creates an accessible, educational and creative space to make, interact and learn.

The Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) is a global and interdisciplinary Community of Practice (CoP) for menstrual health actors and practitioners. Based in Berlin, Germany, they aim to improve communication, connection and collaboration within the menstrual health community through an online platform centralizing research, education and learning, policy and innovation.

The Kieshaun White Cleaner Air Experiment educates the people in Fresno, California about environmental issues in the city. The project will use drone technology to measure pollutants found in the air over city schools and the founder Kieshaun White will build a website to make the data public.

Resilient Bodies Community Apothecary in Carbondale, Illinois maintains a medicine garden to supply natural, plant-based medicines for free in the surrounding community.

Rev Dele and Co-Host Rabiah Al-Nur in Victoria, Virginia are creating the Spirit of Resilience radio show to share inspiration and information about changing the social and weather climates. They envision the radio program as an organizing tool for women all over the globe to build resilient communities.

Terry Njeri and Kaskile Mtembwa started Vegan World in Nyeri, Kenya to promote consumption of vegetables and help sustain youth economically.

E-Africa GoGreen LTD is a solar lanterns and solar reading lights distribution project in Ntoum, Gabon, targeting school children and mothers.

Queggie Gondwe started the Transvillage/Village Tricycle Easing Transportation project for students who have to travel over 30 kilometers to get to school in Dedza, Malawi. The project will empower underprivileged pupils to enjoy their right to an education by getting them to school.

Do you give back and strive to reach others’ hearts? We encourage you to apply for a grant. We are always looking to support projects that are making the world a better place.

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