What began as a small idea of selling a T-shirt to promote a business is now one of Tucson's and America's first humanitarian, sustainable clothing stores, providing more than 12,000 meals to the homeless in the past year.

Fed By Threads, co-founded by Alok Appadurai, sprouted out of a want to help out the hungry in Tucson, and over the past year has gone from a T-shirt business to an entire retail store of sustainable clothes, manufactured in the U.S.

"We started getting asked really hard questions when we first began making the shirts," says Appadurai.

The questions all seemed to point to the same thing: "If you are feeding the hungry by selling a T-shirt made of non-sustainable materials, produced in a factory not in the U.S., are you really helping?" Appadurai asks.

The clothes found in Fed By Threads, 435 E. 9th St., are items Appadurai says he is proud to carry, some of which are made from recycled plastic, denim. They even hang on the racks on sustainable hangers.

Each item sold, in prices from $22 to $72, will provide 12 meals, four to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and eight to a national food bank.

"Our main focus has always been to feed the hungry, but now we are invested in doing this in a way that is organic and sustainable and promotes our economy," says Appadurai.