Attack Hunger donates 20 percent of apparel sales to buying food for at-risk women and children in Detroit. Learn more about its founder Mike Ash and how you can support his efforts at SEEN’s women’s event in May.
By Stephanie Steinberg
Photos courtesy of Attack Hunger
In 2011, Saint Clair Shores resident Mike Ash started a company, Attack Hunger, to deliver food to at-risk women and children in Detroit. Several years later, the 34-year-old estimates he’s delivered tons of food to shelters throughout Metro Detroit.
Ash screen prints T-shirts with his Attack Hunger shark logo and other designs out of the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit. He then sells them online and at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, allocating 20 percent of proceeds to buying food for Metro Detroit shelters serving women and children.
SEEN asked Ash more about Attack Hunger and how you can get involved through organizing food drives and collaborations.
Why did you start Attack Hunger?
I originally started it because I was in a rough place in my life. I felt myself becoming more and more negative, and self destructive everyday. One day I just snapped and decided to focus all of my energy into something better: helping people.
For the first three years, I was selling bundles that contained two granola bars, a bag of trail mix and a bottle of water. For each bundle sold, I would give one of the same to the YWCA Interim House (a domestic violence shelter in Detroit). It was a constant struggle to maintain the food promise, restock the bundles and pay the booth rental fee. I decided to start selling T-shirts and give 5 bundles per shirt. Later, it was changed into our current 20 percent rate.
What organizations do you help?
Now we can best serve the ladies and babies that we work for by getting them exactly what they need at the time of drop off, and also expand to not only helping the YWCA Interim House. We also work closely with Alternatives For Girls, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, COTS, and Turning Point.
Why focus on helping at-risk women and kids in Detroit?
We aim to help women and children because the YWCA Interim House is a domestic violence shelter, and being the first shelter we had worked with, I found that we had aligning ideas on how we can best serve Detroit.
Anyone can host a food drive with Attack Hunger. How does that work?
On website attackhunger.com, we stress how easy it is to hold a food drive. We drop off the boxes and signage, and then we pick them up when they’re full. All we require is to schedule a drop off date and pick up date for the boxes, and we are happy to do the rest! All of our apparel is also available on the site.
Collaborations of any kind are welcome as well. We have had incredible support from a number of super cool artists, universities, restaurants, etc. all over the area. If people want to help, we try to make it as easy as possible do so.
Do you do this full time or do you have another position?
Aside from Attack Hunger, I work full-time in the warehouse at Moosejaw Mountaineering. They are so good to us! My schedule is always being bombarded by Attack Hunger stuff, plus we have done a number of collaborations. So many people, including our CEO, has had a hand in helping achieve what we have so far.
Do you have staff?
We don’t have a staff. I screen print all of the shirts, work the shop, usually schedule and drop off the food. I do it all. However, there is absolutely no way that I could ever get this done without the help of family, friends and an incredible group of supporters. These are the people I refer to as we/us all of the time.
What do you enjoy about what you do?
My favorite thing about doing this is — aside from the obvious food drop offs — is the collaborations and people I meet. We have done things like passing out sandwiches on the HandleBar (a party bike in Detroit), and partying — probably a little too hard — on our trip back. We’ve had events with restaurants i am not classy enough to eat at regularly. Even a very generous marijuana dispensary bought backpacks for two whole shelters last year. Every event or food drive has terrific people behind it. It is a privilege to work with them.
Do you have a fun or heartwarming story that sticks out from your experience with Attack Hunger?
We supply the lunch for the University of Detroit Mercy’s Field Trip Day. They bring 500 Detroit Public Schools Community District students to campus to teach them about healthy living and an active lifestyle. The children also get to attend a basketball game. This one kid ate the carrots and said, “Oh my god, I think I can see better.” It was the funniest and cutest thing ever.
How can someone support Attack Hunger?
The best way support is to visit attackhunger.com to schedule a food drive or collaboration, and while you’re there, pick up some of our awesome stuff!
Editor’s Note: At our inaugural Women SEEN: Making an Impact event on May 11 in Detroit, we’re encouraging women attendees to bring personal care products — such as tampons, soap, shampoo, deodorant and tooth brushes — that Mike Ash will deliver to local women’s shelters. If you’re unable to attend the event but have personal care products to donate, contact Attack Hunger at attackhunger.com/contact.