Operation Nourish impacts metro Detroit

Juniors Rashmita Raghunathan and Shriya Rudraraju spearheaded a student-led initiative, Operation Nourish, to help mitigate food insecurity in the metropolitan Detroit area. 

“Last summer, we had been volunteering for a food bank and we saw how many people were suffering. We wanted it to change, so we started Operation Nourish,” Rudraraju said. 

Operation Nourish was started by Rashmita Raghunathan and Shriya Rudraraju as a community awareness project for HOSA. 

Operation Nourish has completed two food drives at school, with one in December and one in January. They have collected 309 non-perishable food items so far. 

Collected items were donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank, with some of the items being placed in care packages that also consisted of apparel and “positivity cards” for the residents of Cass Community Social Services (CASS), a Detroit-based agency. 

“I didn’t even realize how many donations we received until we started making the care packages for CASS,” Raghunathan said. 

 They are currently running a drive at the Novi Public Library in an effort to expand their efforts to the (Novi?) community, Rudraraju said. In this drive, they are collecting food and apparel to go into more care packages for CASS. 

Raghunathan said that she was proud of how much they collected and felt like she had made an impact on the Metro Detroit community.

“Like with any event, it takes patience and communication to coordinate a food drive,” Rudraraju said. “We have made sure that we have been prompt when promoting and hosting drives at the school and library.” 

Raghunathan and Rudraraju also presented to middle school students about food insecurity. From a survey they conducted on middle schoolers, they found that over 60% of those surveyed were unaware of the effects of food insecurity in the Metro Detroit area. 

Raghunathan said that it was important that they talk to young people about food insecurity, as they are the future of the community. 

“We hope that they are able to become more involved in community causes in the future,” she said, “I think that it’s important that everyone get involved in the initiative. Being more aware, donating food or money to local soup kitchens and volunteering are great ways to start.”

Edits made 2/23/22