FeelGood is on a mission to end global hunger—one grilled cheese at a time. FeelGood is the youth engagement program of The Hunger Project, a global, non-profit, strategic organization committed to the sustainable end of world hunger. College campuses across the globe have their own FeelGood chapter dedicated to raising money to end global hunger. “In the MSOE chapter, we take on a bit more than what other chapters do by keeping the Milwaukee community in mind,” said Ava Montoya, civil engineering student and FeelGood president. Montoya encourages the MSOE FeelGood chapter to “think globally, act locally. This way, FeelGood at MSOE can reach as many people as possible, providing an impact on our community.”

FeelGood hosts Grilled Cheese Delis throughout the year, offering delicious sandwiches in exchange for a small donation to support their mission. During the 2023-24 academic year, FeelGood raised $2,102 for The Hunger Project to help mobilize communities worldwide. This year the group also hosted “Donation Delis” to support local nonprofit organizations Sojourner Family Peace Center and Milwaukee Country’s Homeless Outreach Program. At the Donation Delis, the group gave out grilled cheeses in exchange for donations of hygiene products to support the local nonprofits.

For Montoya, giving back is what it’s all about. “When I came to MSOE, I chose FeelGood because I believed that I could impact so many people in the world. When I became president of FeelGood, I took the opportunity to bring service as a core value and brought MSOE and the Milwaukee community together with volunteerism and drive.”

FeelGood MSOE was awarded five full scholarships to attend A World Without Hunger, a conference hosted by The Hunger Project in New York City. FeelGood leaders Miguel Coronado, Sadie LaHaie, Montoya, Cadence Ruiz and Zoe Rush got the chance to meet with the national chapter leaders of stations in Burkina Faso and Mexico, as well as multiple investors that donate to the Hunger Project. The group was especially inspired by the speech from Montserrat Salazar Gamboa, the county director at the Mexico Epicenter by The Hunger Project. “Hearing about the growth, farming, enterprise and education programs for women she directs with the help of The Hunger Project, it brings you back to know how much you can make a difference in someone else’s life,” said Montoya.

Montoya will continue to expand on her leadership skills this summer at the Investor Leadership Trip in Africa. Here she will participate in workshops that Benin Epicenters holds for its locals to gain knowledge about farming, food security, nutrition, women’s empowerment, health studies and more. She will be able to apply her studies to her master’s thesis, Implementation of Compressed Earth Blocks Towards Sustainable and Low-Cost Housing Solutions in Africa.

“Compressed Earth Blocks have been started up using peanuts and other compostable materials, but for the most part, they only have a hand-crank to try and compress each block. I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of the construction possibilities out there in Benin, working with leaders on how everything operates, and hopefully finding and testing a sustainable solution that can be implemented for further use of their construction infrastructure out there,” said Montoya.