Nearly a decade ago, Maya Terro co-founded FoodBlessed, a hunger-relief and food-rescue non-profit organization that simultaneously tackles the problems of food waste and food insecurity in Lebanon.
Since its launch, the volunteer-driven, community-based initiative has served more than 1.8 million meals and rescued over 2.5 million tons of food from going to waste.
FoodBlessed collects unwanted food from partners, including supermarkets, farms, restaurants, and catering agencies, as well as from rubbish bins, and transforms them into wholesome meals for vulnerable individuals.
Maya Terro, who is also FoodBlessed’s executive director, recently earned a spot on 50 Next, a diverse list that celebrates 50 individuals around the world, aged 35 and under, making remarkable contributions to the food and drink scene.
Terro, 34, was recognized under the “Trailblazing Activists” category of the inaugural list that recognizes all selected individuals, in the 7 categories under the umbrella of gastronomy, equally, rather than ranking them.
“The environmental agitator challenging big business to end food poverty in Lebanon,” is how 50 Next describes the Lebanese activist and her charitable mission.
Despite this being an individual recognition, “I did not make the journey here alone,” Terro told The961.
“I wouldn’t be here without my labor of love, FoodBlessed, from which I have derived the strength to keep challenging myself; and my exceptional volunteers, my Hunger Heroes for whom I have the deepest, deepest respect and admiration and from whom I have derived the inspiration to keep leading by example as I have always done.”
The Hunger Heroes are FoodBlessed’s team of avid volunteers who, under the Executive Director’s leadership over the years, have assisted around 800,000 needy and food-insecure people in Lebanon.
9 Years and Counting
To Terro, this recognition is a motivator to continue her pursuit of change; the kind that comes from within and grows to encompass an entire community and more.
“This award is bigger than me – it’s for every single person who dared to take the path less travelled and believed in their conviction to impact change,” she asserted.
“As I celebrate 9 years of fighting hunger and food waste in Lebanon, I hope to continue to be the change I wish to see in the world by being true to myself.”
The materialization of FoodBlessed’s ambitious mission in Lebanon did not occur overnight when the organization was founded back in 2012, and the road to realizing that mission has not been free of obstacles.
“I have faced several challenges on my way here, but each one of them has only strengthened me to make me the person I am today,” said the activist, who expressed great pride and honor for being able to represent Lebanon on the 50 Next list.
“I learned the hard way that your self-worth should not be based on what others think of you or the things you have (or haven’t) achieved or the awards you have (or haven’t) received—it is something that comes from within.”
In Maya Terro’s view, staying true to oneself in a world that demands otherwise is an important facilitator of success.
In her case, it helped her align her cause with her core and elicit change in her community, “one act at a time!”
“And while society’s definition of success might not apply to the likes of me, I truly believe that I have led a successful life because I was able to do what I love, with what I have, and inspired others to do the same along the way.”
You can learn more about, and show your support to, FoodBlessed and Lebanon’s Hunger Heroes by visiting the FoodBlessed website.