Courtesy of Million Meals Mission

April 22, 2020

Student Spotlight on Samay Bansal ‘21: COVID-19 Hunger Relief Efforts

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Hoping to make a difference in his community, Hotel School student Samay Bansal ‘21 founded Million Meals Mission in 2016. The nonprofit aims to reduce global food insecurity through alliances with grassroots partners and food distributors. His first goal was to feed 1,000,000 people a meal, after being inspired by The Shed that Fed a Million Children: The Extraordinary Story of Mary’s Meals, a book by entrepreneur and philanthropist Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow.

Courtesy of Samay Bashal

Courtesy of Samay Bansal

MMM began its work in Ludhiana, India, and has since expanded to Saadi Rasoi, India, the LaValla primary school for physically disabled students in Cambodia and the organization Rise Against Hunger in its meal-distribution efforts. Today, MMM is doing its part to support populations impacted by food insecurity as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to its usual partners, MMMis supporting organizations that are providing meal packs to low-income families who are unable to leave their homes. “These organizations are doing incredible work and it’s an honor for us to support them,” Bansal said.

To that end, Million Meals Mission is hosting a unique take on the 50/50 raffle: 50% of the funds will go to MMM’s COVID-19 relief efforts, and 50% will be divided equally among nonprofits chosen by the top three winners. All members of the Cornell community and beyond are invited to take part by contacting Samay at [email protected], via Instagram @millionmealsmission or via Venmo directly @millionmeals. Ticket prices are as follows:

Courtesy of Million Meals Mission

Courtesy of Million Meals Mission

You can also visit the Facebook event and website for more information. The three winners will be drawn on Tuesday May 5, 2020, so be sure to stay tuned and think about which organization you would support with your share of the winning funds!

Recently named a Top 100 Best & Brightest Class of 2020 Business Majors by Poets & Quants, Bansal is not only a Ye Hosts Honor Society Hotel School student but also an incredible friend and inspiring presence in the Hotelie community.

“Samay is a natural leader who loves understanding the why behind everything,” said Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer in the Hotel School and triple Cornell graduate (BS ‘88, MS ‘99, PhD ‘10). “A dedicated scholar with interests that span behavioral economics, entrepreneurship, restaurant operations and development, Samay is also a force on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board and in the Hotel Leadership Development Program where he works multiple shifts in our on-site hotel, while learning to lead his fellow students. On top of all this and his heavy course load, Samay is working to create a peer mentoring program for transfer students and applying what he’s learning in the classroom to some real-world consulting projects in his native Singapore.”

Four years and numerous impactful projects later, Bansal is “starting to see that [his] work with Million Meals Mission is inspiring others to start their own organizations.” Going forward in his academic and professional careers, he is determined to, “support people in any way [he] can to work on projects that are close to their hearts.”

Nicole Rovine is a senior in the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She can be reached at [email protected].