Taking principles from her childhood, Monica’s organization has grown to serve more than 1800 students at 60 different schools across the Austin area.
Monica von Waaden was born in El Paso and comes from a family of givers who made regular trips across the U.S. / Mexico border to deliver food to families in need. She took what she learned at a young age and founded a nonprofit based on those same principles called HopeAustin. 2020 completely changed everything she knew.
HopeAustin is a nonprofit that works with local school districts to provide weekend meal kits for students who receive subsidized school lunches. Monica founded the organization with Zee Nariman, working closely with school counselors to discreetly identify students in need and provide them with the vital nutrients they would need to be able to grow, learn, and focus.
In the midst of a pandemic, Hope Austin’s mission became more important than ever and it was up to Monica along with her board members to fill the gaps when volunteers no longer could be safely involved in the process of completing weekly tasks. Before COVID-19, HopeAustin provided 1300 meals kits weekly to 39 different schools, but that number is continuously growing. Currently, they serve over 10,800 meals each month to students needing help.