Andra Tomsa was an infant when her educated upper-middle class parents were forced to flee from her native Romania. Leaving family, home, friends, country, and livelihoods behind they emigrated to Austria as political exiles before making their way to the U.S. Having nothing, her mother who had been a physician in Romania went back to medical school in New Jersey and the family rebuilt their lives. Andra never forgot the poverty she left behind. Why had she and her family made it out and those who stayed behind lived to starve? Bad luck, she asserts. They are simply born in the wrong place and the wrong time.
Armed with a graduate degree in Developmental Economics from Fordham University, Andra saw a parallel plight in the South Bronx community outside the college walls. The South Bronx is categorized as the “poorest congressional district in the United States.” To Andra, the residents were simply victims of circumstances beyond their control.
With the help of a seasoned app maker from Fueled, Andra created “Spare NYC,” a mobile app that aims to close the meal gap in New York’s five boroughs. How? By designing a way for restaurant diners in the city to round up their food bills by $0.99 to be donated to the food bank. In one year, if 10% of New York diners participated, no New Yorker would go hungry. (See “Apps for Hunger”)