Mission: Ending food waste and insecurity
The What: Sanch Gupta and Milton Calderon Donefer, former McGill University students, witnessed food waste at their university’s cafeteria and encountered unhoused individuals in need of food. Believing that food should be accessible to everyone, considering the abundance we have as a nation, they founded MealCare, a non-profit that diverts surplus food from becoming waste, instead delivering it to feed people facing food insecurity across Canada.
The Impact: With teams in 12 cities, MealCare has…
- Diverted over 88,500 pounds of high-quality food from going to waste (will be +100,000 pounds by the end of October)
- Provided over 97,000 meals to people facing food insecurity in cities across Canada (will be +110,500 meals by the end of October)
- Enabled +250 students and volunteers to build leadership skills and bring impact to their own community.
A View from the Top: Between the two leaders, they have been awarded…
- Loran Scholar (biggest undergrad scholarship in Canada)
- 2019 Cansbridge Fellow
- Canada 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leader – Corporate Knights
- Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalist Under 25 – The Starfish
- Montreal Community Cares Youth Leadership Award
Gupta: “I have read a lot of autobiographies, including Rockefeller, Jobs, Knight, and Musk. With all these great leaders, I have realized they break down enormous tasks into tangible small goals that can be accomplished within a specified time frame. I try to do the same.”
Dunefer: My upbringing in Guatemala and immigration to Canada influenced my understanding of the world and motivated me to make the most of the opportunities in my life.
Sound Advice: According to Donefer, the single most important thing people can do to help save the planet is, “to adopt a selfless nature and be empathetic to the reality and experience of others and their environment.”
What’s Next? Gupta, currently a fourth year medical student at the University of Toronto, sees a long list of problems and gaps in our society that need to be addressed but keeps a positive outlook. “My favorite part about entrepreneurship is taking a societal problem, creating a solution, validating it in the market, and watching an idea manifest to reality. So, my plan is to finish my medical training, work as a doctor and find tough problems that need to be solved.”
As for Dunefer, who was born in Guatemala City before immigrating to Canada where he did most of his school years in Cobourg, ON, he is also the Co-Founder of Cheffer, a software company that supports hospitality industry operators to create more resilient businesses by uncovering significant and recurring savings to their purchasing costs. “With Cheffer, I’m helping hospitality industry operators create more efficient and resilient local businesses to help them thrive in this challenging economy. I aspire to help shift humanity to sustainable solutions to address some of our biggest challenges and inequities such as lack of access to quality food, education, and clean water.”
The Call to Action: “Just start. Now,” Donefer says. “Take the first step. No need to overcomplicate it. No need to make intricate plans. Just take the first step towards action.”
Some simple suggestions from Gupta include:
- Invest time and resources into Canadian start-ups and local talent, and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Many people are receptive to talking with you for 15 minutes, and even giving you opportunities.
- Buy and support local.
- Join initiatives that you are passionate about.
- Do things that your future self would be proud of.
- Do not be afraid to reach out to start-ups, companies, or people you are interested in working with.
- Join a group in your community of like-minded people creating impact in something you care about, or if there isn’t a group yet, start making one with a couple of people.
- Make a difference in small ways, too: Help a stranger with directions, be a good neighbour, and be patient and understanding with others when you disagree.
Dunefer: “Across the world there is tremendous suffering from a lack of basics that most of us in our society take for granted; hunger and starvation, clean water and sanitation, and dangerous environments to name a few. I believe humanity has what it takes to significantly eradicate these forms of suffering.”
For More Information go to: https://mealcare.org/
To See the other 2024 Change Maker Award Winner click on their name below:
Having had the privilege of being at the helm of numerous national magazines, including Chatelaine and Today’s Parent, Karine is passionate about content and building strong communities. Her 30+years working in the magazine industry in Canada and the U.S. have allowed her to develop an editorial vision that focuses on exceptional story-telling, dynamic media packages, successful brand partnerships and robust digital strategies, all with the audience’s wants and needs top of mind. Karine enjoys collaborating with her team, clients and members of the community, so please do not hesitate to reach out to her.