One volunteer opportunity can be all it takes to hook a student on helping others. That’s what happened when Alyssa Kapasi, now a senior at The Brearley School in New York City, started tutoring economically disadvantaged students through a program run by a local nonprofit.

In addition to needing extra help with their school assignments, Alyssa noticed many students were underfed and struggled to concentrate on their homework because they came from food-insecure households. She started bringing homemade baked goods when she volunteered and noticed an improvement in the children’s ability to learn when they were well-fed.

Inspired by her realization, she considered how to have a greater impact on the millions of students across the country who also lacked sufficient nutritious food to fuel their brains and fill their bellies. The answer to her question came in the form of Team Fig: a group of three friends she recruited to help her build an online app called Food for Thought.

Food for Thought allows users to easily make anonymous donations towards school lunches for underserved children. Team Fig raised $1,700 through a crowdfunding campaign to build their app and won a $2,000 grant from The Allstate Foundation as a finalist at the 2017 Good Starts Young Rally.

With this funding, the team developed an initial version of the app that they hope to test during the 2018-19 academic year.

“We believe humans are kind and want to help other people, especially in their community and especially children,” says Alyssa. “We want to harness the power of community and human kindness and apply it to school lunches.”

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