Uniting Foodies to Eradicate Hunger, One Apron at a Time
A good meal begins in the kitchen—and for Canadian social enterprise Cooks Who Feed, so do good ideas.
A 2022 study* revealed that about one in five Canadians face food insecurity. With inflation on the rise and a global community still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, this number is set to increase. The fight against food insecurity resonates deeply with the foodie community. For one food lover in particular, it sparked an opportunity to cook up something extraordinary— and get other food lovers in on the action.
In 2016, on a trip to Delhi, India, for a friend’s wedding, founder Seema Sanghavi saw something that changed her life. She had heard about a local non-governmental organization training women to be seamstresses and providing them with safe, fair-wage jobs.
“Upon meeting them, I instantly felt compelled to help,” Sanghavi recalled. “The management told me their biggest challenge was finding enough work for the ladies. I impulsively promised to get involved. I told them I would start something and work with them exclusively. I had no idea what we would produce; I just knew I had to do something.”
Eighteen months later, she had an “a-ha” moment—she knew what she could do to make a difference.
“Over the past year, I had read so many articles on food insecurity and how the numbers were rising,” Sanghavi explained. “I was thinking about all these statistics and then had this idea. Why not create a kitchen textile brand where every product has a giveback model providing meals? We started with aprons and worked with the NGO in India to produce them.”
At the end of 2019, Cooks Who Feed was born, and their mission to unite food lovers for the cause of fighting hunger began. Their flagship canvas aprons provide 100 meals for every product sold.
“We ethically produce kitchen textiles with a give-back model, providing meals to alleviate hunger. We do this by sharing our profits with charities around the globe that recover surplus food to reduce food waste and provide immediate hunger relief,” the founder explained.
The impact has been staggering: Cooks Who Feed has provided over 1.6 million meals to those suffering from food insecurity through the sale of their textiles.
While the flagship aprons are still the most popular products, Sanghavi revealed that the organization has also added a kid’s line, tea towels, and linen napkins to their line-up. Every product comes with a hangtag that explains its impact and is signed by the maker.
“Most of our textiles have been designed by well-known chefs who are passionate about reducing food waste and food insecurity,” Sanghavi said. “Our chef ambassadors include Canadian chefs Christine Cushing, Vikram Vij,
Romain Avril, and Devan Rajkumar. We recently created an apron for American celebrity chef and Food Network superstar Amanda Freitag.”
Their line of textiles isn’t just for home cooks either—Cooks Who Feed partners with businesses, culinary schools, restaurants and cafes, and more. On top of that, their fruitful partnerships with Canadian charities like Second Harvest allow them to maximize their impact in providing meals and fighting hunger.
“I think every business should focus on social responsibility and sustainability,” said Sanghavi. “Can you imagine what the world would look like if all companies focused on people and the planet as much as they do their profits?”
Join the fight against hunger. Go to CooksWhoFeed.com to get your apron. If you’re a company that is looking for a custom gift that gives back, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org *STATISTICS CANADA
Toronto Star Newspapers Limited