Ryan attended Michigan State University where he majored in Business with a focus on Food Management, and minored in Tailgating. He then moved to Los Angeles and continued studies in Fundraising and Non-Profit Organization at UCLA. Support TBSL here.
First and foremost, lets talk about the founders and how they came to develop TBSL?
Todd and I took a humanitarian trip to Liberia a few years back and toured some camps that were treating children for severe acute malnutrition. It was there that we saw firsthand the amazing product called Plumpy’Nut, which was saving children’s lives. It was such a simple and effective solution to such a tragic problem, Todd and I decided then and there that we had to take action to help get more packets of life-saving food to children in need. We didn’t know it was going to be via This Bar Saves Lives… but the seed was planted. A little while (and about 1000 different failed attempts at kitchen granola) later, the company came into focus. We teamed up with Ravi Patel and Kristen Bell, brought on our amazing non-profit partners, developed our delicious recipes, and This Bar Saves Lives was born.
How were the partnerships formed with the organizations that TBSL works with?
Plumpy’Nut was at the center of our concept so we went to great lengths to secure that partnership. Only one (one!) company manufacturers Plumpy’Nut in this hemisphere and it’s called Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions. Located in Providence, RI, it’s run by an amazing woman named Navyn Salem and her fantastic team. Todd and I took a couple trips to their plant and explained our vision. Fortunately Navyn saw something in us and helped facilitate the deal with the parent company of Plumpy’Nut and Nutributter (the two products we donate). Once that crucial partnership was in place, we focused on finding an organization to deliver the packets of life-saving food to children in need. Save The Children was the logical choice, since they operate in 120 countries and are pros at fighting severe acute malnutrition. Lastly, we teamed up with Ananse Village to use their artwork in our packaging. It took nearly a year for these partnerships to lock into place, and it was worth the time and effort. We’re incredibly fortunate to be working with such effective, talented, and giving partners.
What is the difference between the Prevention bar and the Treatment bar? Why have two different bars?
Most accurately, we donate what’s called RUFs (ready-to-use foods) that are basically a fortified peanut butter paste. They don’t need to be refrigerated or mixed with water, and they have a 2-year shelf life. This is all crucial in treating children that are far from reliable power supplies or clean water. They’re so easy to administer that children can stay at home, which means parents can continue to care for the rest of the family and keep working instead of traveling great distances to find a hospital. Plumpy’Nut is an RUTF (the “T” stands for “therapeudic”) and is designed to treat children with severe acute malnutrition. Two packets a day for 10 weeks will save a child’s life. Nutributter is designed for children under the age of 2 to prevent stunting.
Is there a certain number of bars that need to be sold before you go to a community and deliver the meals? When is the meal pack sent to the respective community? Monthly Weekly?
Good question! We leave the aid delivery up to our very capable Giving Partners. Just recently our first major delivery of Plumpy’Nut occurred when Save The Children brought 45,000 packets to the Philippine communities devastated by Typhoon Hayian. That’s enough Plumpy’Nut to save the lives of 300 children. Our donations are earmarked the moment one of our bars is purchased by a customer or retailer, and then corresponding aid is held until our Giving Partners put in the request.
Nearly 70,000 meal packets have been delivered since June 2013, that is amazing. Is there a particular goal being set for 2014?
Thank you! It’s hard to express how amazing it feels to have our company up and running… and already delivering the aid we built the whole idea around. Our goals for 2014 are many and ambitious (gotta think BIG!), but in a nutshell, we’d like to send 250,000 packets of life-saving food to children in need. That’ll mean getting into major national retailers and expanding our product line… and we’re already making great progress in both of those areas.
Support TBSL here.