This Bar Saves Lives“Buy a bar, Feed a child” is the life-changing mission of snack bar company This Bar Saves Lives, with its nonprofit partners that distribute packets of food for every bar purchased to where it’s needed most. With 2,302,895 meal packets donated to date, the lives of millions of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition received the treatment and prevention methods they need in the form of various food products to go on to lead normal, healthy lives.

“Pretty Little Liars” actress Troian Bellisario recently teamed up with the brand, holding an interview session at the BUILD Studio in New York City to help raise awareness for the cause. The company is also discussing plans with Starbucks and Target to combat hunger domestically.

Two major points of emphasis for This Bar Saves Lives are treatment and prevention. For every one of the 2.6 million children who die from severe acute malnutrition each year, there are 10 more at risk of suffering the same fate. Working against this harsh reality, This Bar Saves Lives has developed a treatment in the last decade, Plumpy’Nut®, which has become one of the most important weapons in the war on global hunger.

The product is a nutrient-rich paste made from peanuts, milk powder, sugar, vegetable oils and a mixture of vitamins and minerals. Its simplicity makes it so that it can be eaten right away – no need to be cooked or refrigerated. In addition, Plumpy’Nut® has a two-year shelf life and consuming three a day for seven weeks can take a child from near death to survival. In terms of prevention, Nutributter® was designed for undernourished children below the age of two to prevent stunting, which affects a child’s growth, as well as lifelong health and productivity.

This July, Bellisario shared about her involvement with the company, “Raising awareness about child hunger… has always been a subject that is incredibly personal and important to me… I’m thrilled to be a part of such an exciting and important initiative.” Her husband Patrick Adams added, “I couldn’t be more proud to be working with everyone at This Bar Saves Lives to draw more attention to this problem and to help children in need find their way to an important and potentially life-saving meal.”

Since 2013, This Bar Saves Lives has teamed up with various international organization partners, including Action Against Hunger, Edesia and Second Mile Haiti to distribute food aid to Haiti, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Philippines, Mexico and Guatemala.

Mikaela Frigillana
Photo: Flickr

Charitable footwear brand TOMS has become a sort of gold standard for companies working toward being ethical. On their website, they boast of having improved maternal health, education and a variety of other areas in life through their “one for one” giving model, which supports these programs for each pair of shoes purchased.

But is this model followed by TOMS and a variety of other companies enough to break the cycle of generational poverty?

Although the model provides aid to those in need, it also does nothing to deal with issues of widespread unemployment and unfair wages. In an interview with GOOD Magazine, international aid expert Saundra Schimmelpfennig described TOMS as “quintessential whites in shining armor.” Critics have accused the one for one model of enforcing stereotypes of the developing world—portraying them as helpless—and as a part of a marketing ploy with a deeper focus on pity than active empowerment.

It is why many top brands, such as Warby Parker and soleRebels, have transitioned to a model of social enterprise, focusing on empowering local businesses and providing fair wages to workers. These brands focus on the idea that breaking the cycle of generational poverty must include the creation of well-paying jobs and greater opportunity for the next generation.

This is not to entirely dismiss the one for one model. This Bar Saves Lives, for instance, is a brand that provides life saving plumpy’nut to children suffering from malnutrition. There is an importance in education that requires similar levels of action.

Still, despite the need for certain programs, the increase of brands focusing on social enterprise perhaps represents a new attitude toward the nature of the charitable business, focusing on empowering as a quintessential part of one’s business model, and not a later effort.

– Andrew Michaels

Sources: TOMS, GOOD, SoleRebels, This Bar Saves Lives, Warby Parker
Photo: Huffington Post