Mississauga, Ont. woman helps fight hunger with 'Cooks who Feed' aprons
TORONTO -- Seema Sanghavi has always been passionate about spending time in the kitchen.
“I am very much a foodie,” she tells CTV News Toronto. “Always been a foodie, love to eat, love to cook.”
The Mississauga woman recognizes, however, that not everyone is able to celebrate food and time around the table like she is.
“It just always bothered me that not everyone gets to enjoy food that way, and it’s so much more of a necessity to meet their basic needs,” she says. “I started learning so much about food waste and reading more and more about how the hunger numbers around the world were going up.”
After a trip to an NGO in India that provided safe and fair work to marginalized women, Sanghavi had an idea to help fight hunger.
“I thought, what if I trained the ladies on how to make aprons,” she explains. “And by selling the aprons I could help these great organizations that are on the ground rescuing these surplus food and providing them to people who really need it.”
From there, “Cooks Who Feed” was created.
To help create the aprons she would sell, Sanghavi enlisted the design help of Canadian and internationally-renowned chefs like Art Smith, Christine Cushing and Devan Rajkumar.
“I was unaware at the time of anyone else doing ethical aprons,” Rajkumar tells CTV News Toronto. “I had full design. I could create it how I wanted to, I could pick the colours, all that.”
“We currently have 11 aprons in our line, and five of them are chef-inspired,” Sanghavi says.
After being sold, proceeds from the aprons go to relief programs focusing on food waste in Canada, the United States and India. One of the organizations benefitting is Toronto-based Second Harvest.
“We can provide the 100 meals for every apron sold,” explains Sanghavi, adding that the aprons are all sustainably made.
“We wanted to make sure we had ethical production, fair trade work, that we use materials that aren’t harming the planet. For us, it’s all about making sure that we’re not adding to other problems while we try to fight hunger.”
Rajkumar says that, for him, “Cooks Who Feed” checked “so many boxes” when he considered getting involved with the project.
“India’s very close to my heart, supporting women is very close to my heart, using recycled materials very close to my heart,” he says.
“If you’re going to buy an apron, it makes so much sense to buy one that’s going to have so much more of an impact,” Rajkumar adds.
Sanghavi hopes that Canadians consider “Cooks Who Feed” when doing their gift shopping this holiday season.
“The number of people who are food insecure has really gone up this past year,” she tells CTV News Toronto. “I think that people are looking for a way to have impact and a really way to support those who have been less fortunate and really struggling during the pandemic.”