According to the USDA in 2017 15 million American households were food insecure. Being food insecure means that you are uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet the needs of everyone in your household because you have insufficient money or other resources for food. People with food insecurity usually rely on local food pantries to feed their family. These food pantries are always in need of donations.
Megan Shea and Chip Heim, founders of the Soulfull Project, realized that they needed to do more to help families in need when they met a single mom and her three kids in Texas.
“We were on a business trip in Texas working on a totally different project. We were doing research, meeting with Moms in their homes and talking to them about the types of foods they eat. Honestly, a pretty basic research trip,” stated Shea.
“The Moms we were meeting with were supposed to be at a high income level. But the very last family on the trip turned out to be nothing but. I remember pulling up to the house and it looked abandoned. The whole neighborhood did. Boarded up windows and doors and broken down cars. We knew it was a mistake so we were just about to leave until the researcher said, ‘You should go inside… You never know what you might learn.’ ”
“So we went in. We met a single mom and her three kids. They were so kind and welcoming. As we got into the conversation we realized that they were struggling. The Mom was working nights at a casino and with every dollar she made she was using it to buy food for that day. They showed us around their kitchen and they actually had no food in their home. The cabinets were empty. The Mom told us how she was working hard to not only feed her family, but to get them good food so they could grow up healthy.”
“We left there with a heavy heart and we made a promise to ourselves to do more than just give them extra food and money. We wanted to make a real impact. But to be honest, we got home and back to our every day lives and didn’t follow up on it. Life just kind of got in the way. It’s one of those things I think everyone experiences at some point… You mean well, but somehow, you just don’t follow through.”
“Crazy enough, a year later we were working in a warehouse in Camden, NJ, and we heard a knock at the door,” she continued.
“It was a Mom and her kids asking for extra food for dinner. We gave them what we had on hand, but as they walked away, we realized… We didn’t really help them, and it reminded us of the family in Texas and our promise to help. So that night we sat down and created The Soulfull Project.”
The Soulfull Project is a company out of Philadelphia that makes good quality, non-GMO, clean label hot cereal that tastes amazing.
For every serving of the Soulfull Project’s hot cereal purchased they donate a serving of their 4 Grain cereal to a food bank close to where the purchase was made. Their products are found in many grocery store chains throughout the United States. These stores include Amazon, Wegmans, Sprouts Farmers Market, Fred Meyer, ShopRite, Giant, Shaws, Stop & Shop, Roche Brothers, Fairway, and Jewel-Osco here in the Chicago area. Visit www.thesoulfullproject.com/store-locator/ for a complete listing of their store locations. Soulfull Project cereal can also be purchased at CIBO stores in airports.
Shea and Heim hope to inspire others to give back to their local communities. “That’s really what Soulfull is about,” states Heim.
“We want to show people that with even one hour of your time, you can make a huge impact. Actually, when we launched Soulfull we challenged ourselves to do 100 volunteer events in 100 days. It was an amazing experience. Every day we tried a different volunteer activity and we saw how impactful an hour of time can be. We did everything from packing senior citizen boxes to helping with the kids back pack program. We even picked fresh vegetables at local farms and those vegetables were used for meals at places like The Cathedral Kitchen. We met the most amazing and inspirational people. They are the real heroes. You can be a hero too. I guarantee you that if you volunteer one time, you will see how amazing it is and you will be back to do it again.”
If you check out our web site,” Heim continued, “take a look at the list of food banks and find one close to you. Go to their website and click ‘volunteer.’ It’s really that easy. If you want something even easier, pick up one of our cereals and we will give a serving to a food bank in your region.”
“Even if you can just help us spread the word by sharing or telling a friend. We would be so appreciative and it will help us deliver more donations.”
Currently the Soulfull Project only sells breakfast items but they may expand their product line in the future. Shea and Heim believe that if you start off eating something good in the morning, then it sets the tone for the rest of the day. They want to make the day better for everyone. When they spoke with the people that run local food banks they learned that there was a need for good, wholesome food. They also learned that breakfast foods are in high demand. That is why the Soulfull Project offers a line of hot cereals. Shea and Heim conclude that we are all equal and we all deserve the same quality food. Therefore, they give what they sell.
Shea encourages everyone to go out and make a difference in their local communities. “Whether you volunteer your time or support brands like Soulfull when you shop or both, just know that the need is real. We have personally visited over 100 food banks across the country and we have seen the struggles in every town. They can really use the help and your efforts really will make a difference.”
If you are interested in volunteering your time you can also visit feedingamerica.org to find a food bank near you. Follow the Soulfull project on Facebook, Instagram and visit their website at TheSoulfullProject.com.