feedista

Western alumnus Mustafa Mehmood is working to give back to the London community through his startup Feedista — a food delivery service with a charitable aspect.

Feedista is an online food delivery service partnered with Meals on Wheels, a not-for-profit devoted to feeding those in need. While Feedista is still for-profit, part of the proceeds from every purchase go to various charities.

Mehmood joined Feedista while he was still a student at Western after he befriended co-founder Yasser Ali, the manager of Shelby’s restaurant in London, and Yazan el-Shalabi, its owner. Ali and el-Shalabi already had an idea for what would become Feedista, but when Mehmood was brought aboard, he brought along the program’s online business model with him.

“[Mustafa and I] have spent hours at night working to make Feedista happen,” said Ali, “I have so much confidence in his abilities to take care of business.”

The program is based out of the restaurant where the three met. While Ali and el-Shalabi worked, they often saw Mehmood working on his studies, as well as his other business ventures, which is what lead them to approach him.

“Mustafa is a hard worker; he motivates me to keep going when I feel overwhelmed … I’m the cook but he’s really the guy behind the curtain,” said Ali.

The charity is part of what attracted Mehmood to Feedista, as helping people is a pattern in his work.  

He said that in the future, he wants to be an investor who helps entrepreneurs, and particularly students, bring their ideas to fruition.

He made one such investment in the funding to move Ali’s and el-Shalabi’s project online, where it currently functions.

At the end of each year, Feedista chooses a destination for their donations, and this year they plan on giving to the London Children’s Hospital. In the past, Feedista workers have also made extra meals for The Salvation Army.

“We look at ourselves as a social enterprise,” said Ali. “Our marketing strategies align with benefiting our city and its people, as we feel a moral responsibility to improve the welfare of our community.”

Feedista runs weekly distributions for its products, and often visits locations around London to hand out leftover meals.

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Martin is the Senior News Editor at the Gazette. You can contact him at martin.allen@westerngazette.ca, or @mtrallen on Twitter.

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