Forget Politicians, Entrepreneur Komal Ahmad Created A Genius Way To End Hunger In The US


This is the face of millennial entrepreneurship, innovation, and social activism making a huge difference in the world today. This face belongs to Komal Ahmad, the CEO and founder of Copia (formerly known as Feeding Forward) which is a brilliant business idea that aims to end the hunger problem.

How do they do this? By engaging businesses and corporations with leftover food (from conferences, meetings, events etc)and getting that food to homeless shelters where they go to a person in need instead of in the trash. They have also developed an app where Copia is the “middle man” connecting with businesses who make it known about their leftover food.

In a recent interview with author and journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon for a Women in The World salon event in Los Angeles, Komal sums up her idea in layman’s terms as the “Uber for food recovery”, and says hunger is the “sexiest thing that you could solve instantly”.

“You could order food from your phone. You could find your future partner. You can do so many things. But now we can also do something that’s good for your company, that’s good for your company’s brand, that is good for the community, that’s good for your body and mind, and that makes you feel good too,” she said.


So how did she come up with the genius, common sense idea? During her time studying at the University of California Berkeley, about 10 years after 9/11, she was approached by a homeless man one day asking her for money. She decided to take him out to lunch instead and discovered her was an Iraq veteran. He told her that while he was waiting for his benefits to kick in, he had become homeless and hadn’t eaten in 3 days.

The reason is struck Komal so hard was because she had just returned from a summer training program for the US Navy, and talking to the Iraq veteran and seeing his bleak situation made her realize this could potentially be her one day.

“It was almost like a glimpse of my future. This was a perfectly educated guy, came from a good family. There was nothing mentally unstable about him. He was just a person who was down on his luck,” she said. Sadly, his is not an isolated case, and with the fractured way our government handles veterans (Senate Republicans just voted down a landmark Veterans Bill proving they are clearly not interested in helping the war heroes they help created) Komal came up with a way to do her part to not just help veterans like this man, but many others who struggle with hunger and have no way to feed themselves.


At the time as her life-changing lunch with the Iraq veteran, across the road the University cafeteria was throwing out pounds of uneaten food, which she realized was the key to curbing hunger. In 2011 Feeding Forward was launched as a local food service and today is a major tech startup called Copia that has delivered roughly 600,000 pounds of food to over 700,000 starving people in the Bay Area in California.

The way it works is a business or corporation pays a small fee to have a Copia representative come and pick up the leftover food. Depending on how much they donate, the Copia app has built-in technology that assesses the best homeless shelter or non-profit organization to deliver it to based on their need.

Komal told Gayle that the recent Super Bowl which was held in San Francisco was a major event for them also, where they managed to feed over 41,000 from leftover food. During the interview as she shares this information, the audience claps. But Komal looks rather uncomfortable and in response says “I appreciate that, but this is ridiculous!”, outlining how wasteful we really are as a society. The food they get is not just junk food either, it is the good stuff that can go a long way to ending hunger in a person’s life.

“No one in this room has not seen or wasted food, let’s be real. But now there’s a really easy way to do something even better with it…pass these blessings forward,” she said.


At this stage Copia serves only 5 cities in the Bay Area but the news of their idea has spread far. Komal says she has been in contact with German and Austrian government representatives who are keen to utilize her idea to help the huge influx of Syrian refugees in their respective countries. Because of this, Komal now sees how her platform can be used to innovate other things, such as medicine and medical supplies.

It makes you wonder why this isn’t already standard practice across the country already. Over in France, there is a new law which bans the waste of food by distributors, restaurants, supermarkets and producers. They are now required to either use it as compost, or donate unexpired goods to local charities. How awesome is that!

Additionally, schools must teach students about food waste so they are aware of the problem. France is the first country in the world with legislation of this kind. Perhaps with the presence of entrepreneurs like Komal and her business Copia, more governments will pay attention to the easy way they can solve a worldwide problem.

Watch her full interview with Women In The World below to be inspired:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.