Transcript: Engaging Community to Start a Movement with HungerMitao

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Ami McReynolds | Chief Equity Officer, Feeding America: I noted you said that you started this in 2017 and it was gonna be a three-year commitment if I look at my calendar it's 2022.

Anna Asava | Co-founder, HungerMitao: Yes…Hunger is somehow not acceptable to us. hunger is somehow not acceptable to us and to anybody that we speak to, right? In today's time, there's really no need for hunger to exist. There is so much food wastage, but inequity and lack of access. And these are issues that are so complex that while government works on that, we as a community still need to do our part. And that is why we, we can't seem to disengage because hunger's still a big issue here.

Ami McReynolds: Welcome to Elevating Voices, Ending Hunger. I'm Ami McReynolds, your host and chief equity officer at Feeding America. Elevating Voices, Ending Hunger is a series of conversations with individuals who are disrupting the status quo and building more equitable futures to improve food security across the country.

On today's show, we welcome Anna and Raja Asava. After raising their family and closing the chapter on successful careers in the corporate sector in 2015, Raj and Anna began writing a new chapter of their story with a focus on family, travel and philanthropy. And while they knew about what hunger looked like in their home country of India, they were completely unaware of what the issue of food insecurity looks like in this country, let alone in their own community. Join us in conversation today with Raj and Anna, where we talk about what they've been doing to raise awareness about food insecurity and how they are enrolling others in this movement to end hunger in our country.

Anna and Raj. Thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. It's a pleasure to have you here.

Raj Asava | CEO, Asava Consulting: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Ami McReynolds: So, I'd love first as we get started if you could tell us just a little bit about yourselves, tell us who you are.

Raj Asava: Thank you, Ami. Good to be here. Let me give a little background about myself and Anna. I came to United States in 1974, 48 years ago, from India, and I landed in Michigan and started my career immediately as a dishwasher. And I had to start right away because my dad sent me to United States on a fly now pay later ticket. So the day I landed, I was already in debt.

Ami McReynolds: <Laugh> you had to begin to pay up.

Raj Asava: Exactly. So with that, you know, as soon as I landed my first job, I started working and paying my debt of my fly now pay later ticket. And once I was done with that debt, which took me almost two years working 12 hour days, seven days a week shifts. You know, and once I was done paying that, I started going to college and immediately knew that computers is the area that I wanted to work in. So with that in mind, I made a career in computer science and fast forward in 2010, I retired as the chief strategy officer for Ross Perot at Perot Systems. And my lovely wife, Anna she joined me in 1982.

Anna Asava: Yes. We got married in 1982, and I came to the US as well. And my initial years were, you know, kind of taking care of the family. We had two kids after that. I started to work and in 2009, I left a company called EDS.
Ami McReynolds: Yes.

Anna Asava: Data systems. When it was bought by HP, that's about the time when I decided to quit corporate life and do something more meaningful, which for me, would've been engaging in active philanthropy.

Ami McReynolds: We're gonna have an opportunity to talk about HungerMitao, but I'm also curious, how did you learn about the issue of food insecurity in this country?

Raj Asava: So, let me address that by first sharing with you that in 2009 and 2010, when Anna and I retired, we took a stock of our lives. And we said, you know, at this time in our life, at this stage in our life, what do we want to do? And both of us have been inspired by a discourse by one of the gurus from India. We heard him speak couple decades ago. And there were three words that he mentioned in his discourse. And those were human life is best lived in three stages, learning, earning and returning. And those three words resonated with us. It was a simple way to look at how to get the maximum out of life because life goes through multiple stages. In fact, I wrote an article on that whole topic, but Anna and I, at that time, when we took a stock of our lives, we clearly felt we were in our returning stage. Our two boys, they were both grown. They were both off of our payroll, and they were both you know working and contributing citizens of the country. So we felt that we had three priorities in our lives at that stage. And those were, we wanted to spend more time with our aging parents and family members.

We wanted to travel and see this build world that God has put us on, not just be stuck in good old Texas or just United States. So we wanted to do more of that. And then thirdly, we felt we were really in our returning stage and returning doesn't mean only writing a check, returning means in our perspective, returning is giving back in the form of not only materially, but our experiences, our knowledge lessons learns, mistakes made you know, our network to the next generation so that we can provide them with a better richer platform to launch from.

So, we wanted to do more concerted effort in figuring out ways to do meaningful returning for the next generation and for the society that actually played a big role in shaping us in who we are.

Ami McReynolds: It almost sounds like the way you talk about returning that it creates a new cycle for people to learn as well.

Anna Asava: Oh, totally, totally. Cause it's so different from what we are kind of tuned into our entire working careers and now you become free and you look at okay, how can I employ all these resources into something that's even more gratifying than corporate careers were?

Raj Asava: Yeah.

Ami McReynolds: Yes, yes.

Raj Asava: So, we were basically from 2010 onward put all of our effort around those three things. So we were attending all the family functions, spare a lot of quality time with family members, you know, and parents here in United States, as well as in India. And we travel and saw different parts of the world every year. But and philanthropy-wise, our philanthropy focus was primarily in known causes here in America, like March of Dimes walkathons and things of that nature. And a large part of it was focused back in India because in India, the issues were several. And they were also very visible. You know, from hunger to education to poverty, I mean, it was just staring at you. So we, we also all looked at it that our dollar went a long ways in an emerging country like India. So majority of our philanthropy was focused on causes in India. But interestingly enough, all of that changed in 2015. In 2015, I was having lunch with our local mayor. And he asked me to support his backpack program. And when I, I thought it was some kind of a marketing gimmick and when I asked him what exactly is this backpack program? He says, Raj, I'm talking about backpack filled with enough food for a child to last for the weekend.

Ami McReynolds: Yes.

Raj Asava: I was shocked. I immediately said, oh, you mean for the, you know, downtown areas, the rough neighborhood, the food deserts, he said, no, no, no. I'm talking about Plano, which is one of the richest cities in the country. He's saying that the schools where my children went, our children went the school where his children are going. I came home and I told this to Anna and of course Anna first thing she says, Raj, you're getting too old, you know, you didn't hear him right.

Ami McReynolds: But it sounds like it was deeply impactful in that moment. Like you have to investigate this.

Anna Asava: It was, and it was actually pretty incredulous first. Cause you know, we look around the community we live in, hunger is not visible

Ami McReynolds: That's right.

Anna Asava: Right. The school, the parking lot at the school that our kids would go to, there were better cars there than the ones that we were driving. So it was almost like a, you know, what is this hunger? Where is this hunger? Our friends never talked about? So it was like, okay, you know, we really need to do some digging here.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. Yeah.

Raj Asava: So, one, one of the things that Ross Perot taught us, you know, and Ross Perot is, God bless his soul, amazing leader that this country had. And having worked for him, you know, he was a man of one-liners and one of his one liner was if you ever want to find the truth, bring all the liars in one room.

So, we both felt that we need to really get to the bottom of this, you know, is hunger really an issue in Plano in North Texas, in United States. So we invited the Plano mayor to our home for dinner, we invited the food bank leaders to our home for dinner. I had, I was on the board of a physician's organization, Indian physician organization. So I asked them to come to come for dinner because I said, if hunger is an issue, it'll eventually translate into health issues. You need to listen to this. So they all came over here and they heard the food bank talk about the stats, that 800,000 people in this rich community rich county were food challenged one in six North Texans was struggling. One in four school-going children did not know where the next meal is coming from.

So, we were totally shocked. And you know, the interesting thing Ami, is that PowerPoint slides, you know, the first two slides will shock you, but after a while, you know, your mind kind of, and your eyes glaze over and then you kind of tune out. So one thing that the food bank executive did was at the end of the presentation, she pulled out a backpack and she passed it around. And as we looked in that backpack and we saw those small boxes of juices, milk, the granola bar, the sesame seed packet, there was not a single dry eye in the room that night. I mean, we were all shocked. Everybody wrote their check, but that night was the transformational night for us, Anna and I couldn't sleep. We figured that, you know, we were, first of all, shocked that hunger was such a big issue here. And we didn't know about it.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. Such a hidden issue, the shame, the stigma around it.

Anna Asava: Right. And it, it was hunger in a form that we did not recognize.

Ami McReynolds: That's right.

Anna Asava: Right. Because coming from a different country in India, like Raj said, hunger was everywhere around us.

Ami McReynolds: Very visible.

Raj Asava: Yes.

Anna Asava: Very visible. Yes. And here learning that a person living in a house like ours next door in the same community could be actually hungry. It was mindboggling.

Raj Asava: Yeah. I mean, the fact that they are struggling to make choices between mortgage, medicine and food, and food is the one that typically suffers. So we, at that time said, said we need to really get engaged on this. And, at that point, we started taking active role with the food bank.

Anna Asava: So, I, I joined a couple of like little groups influence groups they had at the food bank. They called it the Philanthropy Council. Okay. And that way I got to know more, you know, we got deeper knowledge into what the issue was, how big was the issue, the contributing reasons. And we learned about the Feeding America network of food banks. Can you believe it? I mean, we kept shaking our heads that we had been in this country for so long. And we did not know about the magnitude of the issue, nor the magnitude of a response that is being created.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. Yes.

Anna Asava: So, you know, as we learned more, we volunteered more, we donated our time and resources more and each time we came back from a volunteering shift, we would look at each other and say, why are there not more people like us, who looked like us in the volunteering shifts? Because we live in a community that's that has a very large Indian American population, very affluent group, very social group. But nowhere in our social gatherings, did hunger ever come up? You know, that wasn't something that we talked about. And then it dawned on us that just as we were unaware, perhaps the community is unaware because hunger here comes in a different form.

Ami McReynolds: Right.

Anna Asava: So then then we started to work with the food bank and the new CEO of North Texas Food Bank had just come in. So we approached her with an idea.

Raj Asava: Yeah. So basically at that time, after, you know, in the business world, we call it the due diligence. So after we were done with the due diligence, which was to first validate that hunger truly is an issue in this prosperous country. And secondly, what was the solution into that issue? And we were convinced that Feeding America and their network of food banks are doing an outstanding job in the most efficient manner to ensure that everybody across the country, in every zip code has access to nutritious meals. After we were done doing our due diligence, we basically wrote our check of a hundred thousand dollars and took it to the CEO of North Texas Food Bank. But we also proposed to them because we did not want to be one and done. We proposed to the CEO Trisha Cunningham that we would love to stand up a community affinity group. She said, what is that? I said, basically it dawned on us that just like Anna said, just like we did not know about the hunger issue around us, very likely our other friends in the Indian American community do not know about it. So how about if we give three years of our lives to, you know, raise awareness and engage the community in the fight against hunger?

Ami McReynolds: Hmm.

Raj Asava: She loved that idea. She said, this is something that we have never done and will be unique. And she said, let me get the heck out of the way. And you guys go at it and tell me how I can support.

Ami McReynolds: Well, and to, and to know you wanted to make that three-year commitment too.

Anna Asava: Right. That's right. And Raj and I were very clear from the get go that there was no need for another organization to be stood up. Right. They were enough organizations who were working in this space and we picked the one that was the strongest, most sustainable. And we said, okay, let's put our strength behind this organization. You know, let's just strengthen them. So HungerMitao is what we called our movement. And we keep emphasizing it's a movement because it's not a registered 501c3, it basically connects the community with their local food bank.

Raj Asava: So, with our, with our backgrounds, you know, mining strategy Anna's in the process side, we were able to bring our corporate learnings to first and foremost, create a robust HungerMitao strategy. So we clearly knew that for us to engage the community, we have to raise the awareness of the hunger issue and the magnitude of the hunger issue right here in North Texas and across America. And then once the awareness is raised, we anticipated that the community is ready to engage. And if we don't have ways to engage them, we will lose them. So we identified three ways in which they could engage and make a difference. And those were the food bank clearly needs lot of volunteers. So we wanted to increase the volunteering activity from the Indian American community. Second, you know, obviously our food bank here can provide three meals to a dollar largely because a lot of the food is donated food.

Raj Asava: So, we encourage our community to do more food drives. As an Indian community, we have lots of celebrations, lots of festivals. I mean, not a week goes by that is a festival. You know, and in these festivals, you know, we don't need more flowers and more sweets. And for celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries, our housewarming, we don't need more bottle of wines. So we are trying to change that mindset that, Hey, as you are celebrating, how about also, you know putting a jar of peanut butter aside that can be given to the food bank. So we are encouraging people to do more food drives for the benefit of the food bank. And then of course we are explaining to people that why does the food bank needs funds? Because one thing we like about the food bank model is that food bank is not trying to just put food in the bellies of the hungry people. It is actually ensuring it is nutritious food that is giving that is being made available to the needy. And for that, the food bank actually has to go out and procure fresh fruits, vegetables, right? Protein, et cetera. So for that reason, and then they have to also distribute that to the pantry so it can be closer to the clients. So when we explain that to the community, they understand and they're willing to write their checks as and when it's needed.

Anna Asava: We also talked about one other way that people, people can help us. Right. Because all of this engagement hinges on the fact that they are aware that's right, right. So awareness is one of the start. So that's our key, it's in every messaging that we put out, you know, are you aware this is happening around you? Are you aware that the food bank does this and are you aware that you can actually help?

Raj Asava: Well, let me share with you the power of awareness. We launched HungerMitao on September 29, 2017 at a friend home. Some of the board members from North Texas Food Bank were there, community leaders were there. And at that launch, we made a commitment to the food bank that the Indian American community will enable 1 million meals. Now, how do you go about enabling 1 million meals. Well the very next day after the launch, Anna and I started doing awareness sessions, whether it is two people at Starbucks or 20,000 people at the football stadium, we went and spoke about the hunger issue, the, you know, face of hunger being different in this country and ways in which the community can get involved. And we must have conducted over a hundred awareness session just in the very first year of HungerMitao and you'll be happy to know that the word got picked up, and the community once they learned about the hunger issue, they stepped up to the plate. And in just seven months we crossed the first million meals.

Ami McReynolds: That's fantastic. That is that's amazing. And I'm wondering what challenges did you run into and just creating greater awareness about the issue of hunger in this country?

Anna Asava: So I would put challenges in kind of two buckets.

Ami McReynolds: Okay.

Anna Asava: One of the challenges was to create awareness of food insecurity around us. This conversation becomes a bit challenging. On the surface, people see overweight and an obese population.

Ami McReynolds: Yes.

Anna Asava: And they almost always equate it with prosperity and plentiful, right? Then there's also this perception that we have enough governmental programs to take care of those who are in need. Right? So just talking to people and kind of helping them peel back the layers and say, okay, yes. You know, you see somebody who is overweight, but malnourishment also results in weight issues.

Ami McReynolds: Yes.

Anna Asava: We have to keep reinforcing those messages. Right? You know, we did see the stunning images of long lines for food assistance during the pandemic.

Ami McReynolds: Yeah, absolutely.

Anna Asava: That helped shine a light on the issue, and we saw communities respond, but the attention of media has now shifted to other issues. And many people either forget about insecurity or forget about food insecurity, or they assume that hunger is no longer an issue. So that is a challenge. It's an ongoing challenge to make people aware. And then from a HungerMitao movement perspective, you know, we are also running into challenges.

Raj Asava: Yeah. Yeah. I think I mean, challenges is par for the course here. You know, we have made a huge strides in the HungerMitao movements, right. Over the last four years, you know, through Feeding America and the food banking network, we have been able to, you know, raise over 40 million meals that community has definitely stepped up and is ready to take on this issue and join forces. But you know, sometimes you know, communities as such, not just the Indian American community, but communities as such, you know, there are different causes that are pulling at them. There are different agendas that people and organizations have. So it becomes like herding cats. You know, you have to kind of continuously work with the community to make sure that they don't forget about hunger. They could be addressing other issues. No problem. But we have to keep educating them about the hunger issue, about the progress that is being made about the new challenges that are coming in this space. So we find that at a HungerMitao movement, it cannot be simply, you know, do an awareness session once, and then they are board, you have to continuously work with them continuously, educate them, make sure they don't drift away.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. And, and, you know, I I'd like to think that as I am a hunger fighter, right? That this issue is solvable. I want to feel like I'm working towards solutions and moving towards something and I can imagine others do as well.

Raj Asava: Yes.

Anna Asava: Yeah. And I actually, you know, we, we call these challenges, but therein lies opportunity.

Ami McReynolds: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

Anna Asava: We see tremendous potential because even engaging the wider in Indian American community, I mean, that opportunity is huge, But the challenge there is from a HungerMitao perspective, you know, we are a pure movement. We are not a 501c3. So for us to scale and to strengthen this model, we need more resources.

Raj Asava: More hands-on deck.

Anna Asava: Are in such critical need Ami of more volunteers who can be passionate activists and leaders in their own cities.

Ami McReynolds: So how are you all tackling that that's a big challenge for this movement.

Raj Asava: It is. So currently HungerMitao you know, is at eight food banks across the country. And fortunately we have had local champions who have stepped up and they have become the face of HungerMitao in their neighborhoods, in their cities and interfacing and working directly with their food banks. And Anna and I, we play the role of mentors to, you know, we are always available as a sounding board, as a guide. And then we also ensure that certain principles of HungerMitao that have been laid are not diluted. Right. For example, we want to continue to be a movement. We do not want to create another 501c3. It may have some benefits, but our goal is to engage the community directly with the food bank rather than a pass through or rather than going through another organization.
Anna Asava: And that's something, yeah, we are very, very strong proponents of that because there's really no need or no room for another organization here.

Raj Asava: Yep.

Ami McReynolds: Right. So this, this deep connection with the food bank that already has the infrastructure in place, right. And you all are building the people power. Right. When I think about engaging people and volunteers, and being able to think about food raising and fundraising, that's people power that this movement is helping the fuel.

Anna Asava: Yeah. Very well said.

Raj Asava: And, Ami, if I may just gonna step back a little bit at the get go, we worked with the Indian American community, primarily because we come from India, we had a large personal network of Indian friends where we had influence. And we also wanted to put boundaries around a certain community that we can work with, because if it is purely of raising awareness, well, Feeding America and food banks are already doing that for everybody. We just wanted to work a community at a time. So we figured that if we can prove this model of raising awareness and engaging the community in the fight against hunger, through the food banking system, then this model can be replicated to other communities as well.

Anna Asava: Yes, definitely because that was the intention. If it works for one discrete community, there's no reason why it cannot work for another.

Raj Asava: And, and we've been blessed to, with our, again, with our corporate background from get-go, not only we had a clear strategy, we also templatized everything that we did, our awareness documents, our website, and we made it into what we call in the technical world open source. So if any other communities interested in it did don't have to start from scratch like we did. They could run away, they could take our model, they could do cut and paste and they could be up and running in very, very short time. And last year, we proved it because the Chinese American community here in North Texas reached out to us and they said, Hey, we want to engage our community in this wonderful, important cause. And we worked with them and in matter of weeks, we had them up and running. And we played the role in the background as their mentors. And this has been a very successful replication of this model to another community. And, we have other communities having seen two communities engaged in this fight against hunger, through the food banking system. We have the Latin American community. We are working with them currently, hope to share some good news in the near future. We believe that other communities will find it a natural way of getting their community involved in this.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. What I love about what I've learned about HungerMitao and the movement here is that there is a - there are some principles, but it's not prescriptive, but there are some principles here, right? The four pillars that you talked about related to HungerMitao and how each community engages in that and implements that, and really thinks about how they connect with one another is really the determination of that community.

Anna Asava: Absolutely.

Raj Asava: Yep.

Ami McReynolds: I'm curious. Lots of work done. I noted you said that you started this in 2017 and it was gonna be a three year commitment if I look at my calendar it's 2022.

Anna Asava: Yes.

Ami McReynolds: So I'm curious, what have you learned about yourself through your involvement with hunger? Why do you keep going?

Anna Asava: Well, hunger is somehow not acceptable to us and to anybody that we speak to, right, in today's time, there's really no need for hunger to exist. There is so much food wastage, but inequity and lack of access. And these are issues that are so complex that while government works on that, we as a community still need to do our part. And that is why we, we can't seem to disengage because hunger's still a big issue here.

Raj Asava: Another reason we can't disengage because since we are movement, you know, we need other leaders to step up and somebody who we can pass the baton to. So we actually encourage community members to get more involved. And those who have deeper passion and have time and resources to get deeply involved, we are ready, waiting, and welcoming them to come in and, and we will share all the information and they could lead the movement. They could be the face of the movement. Because one thing, again, going back to our corporate America learning is that succession planning is very key. You notice that this is called Mitao, not Raj and Anna...

Raj Asava: You know, so, this is truly a community affinity model. It brings pride to the community and we encourage community members to step up and take charge and come up with their creative ideas and help the food banks in getting food to the needy.

Anna Asava: So Ami, we are looking for leaders. Yep. But that doesn't mean that Raj and I are pulling our support away. Our resources are still earmarked to this cause, but we would love for others to kind of become activists and give this movement their own colors.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. We, we often say within Feeding America that this is a leader full movement, right? A movement full of leaders, not just a few, so it sounds like that is what you are also looking for. Right. To be able to continue to spread the movement, to be able to share leadership, to be able to have greater impact.

Anna Asava: Absolutely. 

Ami McReynolds: So I'm wondering, you know, okay, so 2017, we're now at 2022, if we were to look out 10 years from now, what, what do you hope to see happening? What will be happening as a result of the effort you, Raj and Anna, have put into this work?

Raj Asava: You know, I would say that, you know, as, as a human being, you just wish that this problem did not exist. And hopefully in the next 10 years, you know, we have good minds have come together and figured out how we can ensure that when we are producing, you know, more than enough food to feed every hungry belly on this planet, many times over, you know, hopefully we will eventually come up with a true model that will ensure that food is one thing that human beings on this planet will never have to worry about. That is a vision. That's a hope, that's a desire. Will it happen next 10 years? Will it happen in our lifetime? We don't know. However...
Anna Asava: But we do see a lot of organizations working in this space and that is encouraging. I would love to see 10 years from now a unified approach. Right? So organizations not working in silos because hunger is not just a lack of food. There's a lot of other issues that need to be addressed. So, you know, if these wrap around services kind of work together, I feel we'll be able to also shorten the line, not just feed the line.

Ami McReynolds: That's right. That's right.

Anna Asava: So that's one thing. And another thing I would love to see, hopefully less than 10 years from now is more and more discreet communities, kind of including hunger relief in their everyday kind of, you know, it becomes part of their DNA. Because if there's one person hungry in the community, that's one too many. We can, we may not be able to get rid of the underlying causes, but we can make sure that person is fed.

Raj Asava: You know, one other interesting thing, Ami is that having, since we are working with so many food banks you know, and when we do our research about those food banks and we look at their strategy, community is always an important segment in everybody's strategy.

Ami McReynolds: Yes.

Raj Asava: So I believe that community plays a very integral role. And in fact, I would even go as far as saying that community plays the last mile role in the fight against hunger because the government can do so much, right? The, the food banks and Feeding America can do so much, but, under the community steps up and declares a war against hunger saying that hunger is not acceptable, where we live. Hunger is not acceptable in our neighborhoods.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. Yes. I love this idea about community. To me, thinking about community is really all about equity because not every community, right? Not every population is impacted in the same way. And not every community and every population experiences food insecurity at the same rates. Right? So being able to really set the community context at the center of what the needs are in that community and develop a response. I would say, I think, yes, definitely last mile. I might even argue first mile, right? Let's hear what folks in the community really want and need to be able to move out of food insecurity as well as address root cause issues of food insecurity. So I am all about community and I know many members across the Feeding America network are, and we are talking to community-based leaders all season long here on Elevating Voices, Ending Hunger.

Raja, and Anna, I can't thank you enough. This has been such a great conversation today. I deeply appreciate the movement that you've created. I'm glad that you have decided three years was not enough, and that you continue to be involved and mentor and think about other leaders making room for other leaders in the movement. And I just really appreciate you all coming on today to share your story, share your needs and share your plans for the future, your dreams for the future with us.

Anna Asava: Ami, thank you so much. This was a pleasure. And thank you for giving us the chance to speak with so many more people than we do today. Hopefully some of your listeners will be interested in creating their own community affinity model. And we would love to have that conversation with them and everything that we have is available to them, as well as our time.

Ami McReynolds: I was gonna ask where can folks go to find out more information?
Raj Asava: They can go HungerMitao.org.

Anna Asava: And we didn't explain this, but HungerMitao is a combination of two words, hunger, all of your listeners know what hunger means. Mitao is a Hindi word, an Indian word for wipe out.

So HungerMitao means wipe out. And it's spelled H U N G E R M I T AO

Raj Asava: Right. So it's wipe out hunger.

Ami McReynolds: Yes. I can get behind that. Thank you so much.

Raj Asava: Great. You know, one thing I'll say in my closing remarks, Ami, is that, you know, when people look at the HungerMitao movement, we have heard them say to us, this is the most logical thing. Why didn't I think of it? So my request to listeners is that regardless of who thought of it, folks, the movement is there. It's up and running, you know, jump on the, on this train, and then let's make sure that we are accelerating towards our goal and heading in the right direction.

Ami McReynolds: Thanks for joining us on this episode of elevating voices, ending hunger, to learn more about the movement of HungerMitao, visit HungerMitao.org. That's H U N G E R M I T A O.org. And to learn about the work Feeding America is doing to address equity and food insecurity, visit feeding america.org/act. Thank you to our podcast, producer Rivet 360. Don't forget to share the show with others and be sure to subscribe so that you can get new episodes as soon as they're available. I'm Ami McReynolds. And I look forward to continuing our equity journey together in our next episode.

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