KUTOA™, which means “to give” in Swahili, was founded by young entrepreneur, Joey Grassia. The idea was born in late 2009, after Grassia had witnessed the effects of malnutrition during his time in South Asia and after he experienced a health scare of his own.
“The vast devastation I witnessed was unforgivable and became forever imprinted in my mind. Young children sitting helpless and hungry in dirt alleyways, while their parents worked in deplorable conditions to provide for them. In Vietnam and Cambodia, I met children who went to bed hungry every night in makeshift housing that often collapsed on them. The people I encountered and the situations I witnessed were both tragic and unforgettable."
After returning from Asia in 2007, Joey knew he needed to do something to alleviate the tragedies he witnessed. He quickly changed his major from Economics to International Development and started studying the causes behind the devastation. However, it wasn't until he experienced a health scare of his own that the dots connected.
"After experiencing weeks of short, sudden migraines and excruciating chest pains, I reluctantly agreed to see a doctor. From the moment I walked through the door, the nurse and the doctor were in awe of my condition. I was a wreck. From my blood pressure to my platelet tests, the results were unlike anything they had ever seen in a person of my age. I couldn't believe it myself. I worked out daily, maintained a very strict regimen of diet and exercise and was even training to compete in amateur bodybuilding. But physical appearance is far from everything. I was only paying attention to the caloric value of food, with little regard for what I was actually putting in my body. I was eating unnatural, heavily processed foods filled with sodium-rich preservatives."