18-year-old cookbook author is donating royalties to fight childhood hunger

  • 16 Oct - 22 Oct, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

When Sahana Vij was five, her mom taught her how to make French toast. Together they made soup and enchiladas, and volunteered at a Seattle shelter, serving and sharing meals with families in need. "Food is a major, big, important way to communicate with people," Vij, now an 18-year-old freshman at the University of California, Irvine, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "Food helps connect us." Volunteering with her mother inspired Vij to start cooking – and sharing the food she makes with others. Growing up in Redmond, Washington, Vij taught herself how to bake, trying new recipes every week. "I'd always make it for other people," she says. "My way of communicating with other people was through food." While still in high school, Vij wrote her cookbook, Bake Away. Vij is donating all of her author proceeds to the non-profit, No Kid Hungry. For every $1 donated, No Kid Hungry serves 10 meals. If her first printing run sells out, Vij hopes to provide kids with about 700,000 meals. Vij wants to change the world through baking. After college, she hopes to earn an MBA and open her own bakery – and plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to No Kid Hungry.