NEWS

Q&A With Microgrant Recipients Shreyaa & Esha

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Karma for Cara Foundation awards microgrants to youths 18 years of age and younger who spearhead exceptional service projects in their communities. Microgrant recipients (and sisters) Shreyaa & Esha (18/15) from Virginia founded NEST4US, a 501©3 non-profit organization, as a platform for giving back to the community in a multitude of ways. The mission of NEST4US is to work with communities to provide volunteer and leadership opportunities for youth to make the world better through kindness. Their main goal is to nourish the hungry, inspire youth, and connect the world. One of their projects, NEST Nurtures, was created to stop food waste and feed the hungry; that was the focus of their microgrant project.

  1. What inspired you to start this project? Initially, we noticed three key issues in our community that we wanted to tackle—food insecurity, the lack of volunteering with a passion, and diversity and inclusion. When we started volunteering, we noticed so many homeless people who didn’t have access to food. We also noticed that so much food goes to waste daily in our community. So, homeless people and food waste. We put two and two together and decided that our first program, NEST Nurtures, should focus on reducing food waste and feeding the hungry. Also, most people do community service solely for hours or other incentives, which we believe defeats the purpose. That’s why we decided to provide a variety of programs through NEST4US (www.nest4us.org) that allow people of all ages (ranging from ages 4 to 70) to give back by doing something that interests them. In just four years, we’ve grown to an impactful organization with over 1,000 volunteers!
  2. Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project?  400
  3. Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project?  275
  4. How many hours did you spend on your project?  2500
  5. How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 10000
  6. How many individuals were affected by your project?  75000
  7. During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you?  Our NEST Nurtures program is ongoing throughout the year. Since we received the K4C microgrant, we were surprised by the number of people we were able to impact, the amount of food rescued from our community, and the growth of our volunteer family over the years.
  8. Overall what did you learn from this experience? Through our experiences, we have learned the transformative impact of 30 seconds of kindness on peoples’ lives. Also, we realized that even though we may only be 15 and 18-year old kids from a small part of the United States, with the vital traits of kindness and generosity, anyone, young or old, rich or poor, can make a difference. We stand up and step up for those who feel most alone in this world and show the community that you don’t need to be a certain age or be from a certain place to change the world!
  9. How will your project continue having an impact in the future? Currently, we partner with Starbucks Food Recovery Program and Panera Bread’s Day-End Dough-Nation Program. As we continue to expand, we hope to partner with more corporate businesses and organizations for global outreach, as well as with major grocery store chains including Whole Foods, Safeway, Wegmans, Giant, and LIDL, to further reduce the negative ecological impact of food waste and turn what is considered useless to these companies into consistent meals for those who live hungry. Through partnerships with major food corporations and businesses, we will broaden our impact on homeless communities and low-income families, reduce the drastic levels of food waste!
  10. How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project?  One of the biggest barriers NEST4US has faced has been getting adequate financial resources. With five established programs, lots of funds are required to keep each one up and running. Financial support is really crucial to grow our organization onto an even larger scale. Since we’re a teen-led organization, we were self-funding and relying on in-kind donations, community support, and mini-grants from local business partners to run our programs efficiently. We’ve been thankful to have received a few grants from Karma for Cara. They have been especially helpful to us to continue providing essential services to those most vulnerable in the community through our five core programs.