RESILIENCE, FEARLESSNESS, BOLDNESS, AND UNAPOLOGETIC CERTAINTY ARE DEFINING MY JOURNEY.
It may sound funny, but being the daughter of South Asian parents, in their minds there were four distinct career options for me: doctor, lawyer, engineer or complete failure. I didn’t choose any of those paths. I chose my own.
Training for the navy, deployment as an officer, and a chance meeting with a complete stranger led to and ultimately revealed what I feel I am meant to do now. In my mind, nothing was impossible, and understanding that impossible was just another word meant nothing would stand in my way.
ONE LUNCH TRANSFORMED MY LIFE
I know it sounds unrealistic to say that one lunch transformed my life - but it’s true. After meeting a homeless veteran on the street in Berkeley I invited him to lunch. He was waiting for his benefits to kick in and hadn’t eaten in three days. Just across the street, the university was throwing away tons of unused, perfectly good, fresh food. It was in that moment that the idea of COPIA was born.
Empathy for another is very powerful. My own training in the US Navy and my deployment as an officer only connected the two of us further, and presented me with an immediate sense of responsibility.
We waste over 365 million pounds of perfectly edible food every day. We simply can't tolerate a world where we waste three times more food than there are mouths to feed. The solution? COPIA.
Hunger is not a scarcity issue, it’s a logistics problem. It was a lightening rod moment that inspired the use of technology to connect those who have with those who have not. And it works. Last year, COPIA put excess food into the hands of 2 million people.