Charlottesville teenager leads family effort to provide home cooked meals for city’s homeless community

Charlottesville teenager leads family effort to provide home cooked meals for city’s homeless community

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Like so many of us, a Charlottesville family has spent a lot of time in the kitchen the last several months, but not everything they’re serving up is for them.

This story starts two years ago when Anita Gupta would make home-cooked meals for the homeless community at The Haven in Charlottesville. But when the pandemic hit, and she was kept busy with her wedding cake business, she needed an extra set of hands. Or two. Or three.

She got them from her three children. The oldest, 17-year-old Asha, leads the group effort.

“Before, I knew there was homelessness and I knew people had food insecurity,” she said. “But before I really started doing this and dropping off the food and helping, you never really see it.”

Not only is Asha seeing the problems, but she’s actually solving them. Every week since March, Asha and her two siblings Sahana, 15, and Ayaan, 12, prepared, made, and packed up food to be brought to the Haven.

“There’s always going to be a community to back you up,” Asha said.

“Even when the ‘community’ is your siblings?” we asked.

“Yes,” she said with a laugh.

Now, it’s not just the Gupta family helping out. They receive some groceries from The Haven, and they also have raised over $3,000 to go directly to The Haven.

“It really was spectacular,” said Anita Gupta. “Within days of her setting it up, I think she had a goal of $500 and it reached over $3000 so quickly. It really is amazing the power of community.”

The Gupta family admitted that some days can be chaotic with chefs racing back-and-forth from the kitchen to Zoom classes, but Asha says this project is just so important.

“It’s providing for people something to eat, and not only just a meal from a random place,” she said. “It’s a home-cooked meal, which we believe everybody should have access to.”

Asha says you can help out by donating to their GoFundMe page, linked here. All of the money given to the page is going straight to The Haven.

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