Through a $500,000 product donation to Meals on Wheels West, Santa Barbara nutritional formula company Kate Farms will provide more than 100,000 meals to seniors facing food insecurity in California.
The meals are in the form of the company’s nutritional shakes, which are plant-based, organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, shelf-stable, and free of common allergens. Designed to be “sole source,” meaning that the product can be a person’s sole source of nutrition, the shakes were engineered after founders Richard and Michelle Laver struggled with finding an adequate nutritional formula for their daughter Kate, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
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After partnering with a vegan chef and physician, the couple engineered a formula that allowed their daughter to thrive. Now, Kate Farms distributes its formulas to clinics, hospitals, and customers all over the world.
“Kate Farms was founded with the mission to deliver the highest quality plant-based nutrition to those most in need,” said John Hommeyer, the organization’s chief experience officer. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the company’s board of directors thought “it was essential for us to step up and make a difference in any way we could.”
Particularly of concern were seniors, who have the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of all age groups. The board chose to work with Meals on Wheels West, a nonprofit food assistance organization, due to its decades-long track record of serving at-risk seniors across the country.
As of last week, the two organizations have hosted food distributions and home deliveries in Santa Monica and the greater Los Angeles area. Expansion to other communities across the state — including Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Long Beach — are currently being planned.
Kate Farms employees supported the aid process at the Santa Monica distribution, helping with food packaging and home deliveries alongside Meals on Wheels volunteers.
“What was amazing was that when you have a mask on, you can’t see people’s expressions,” said Hommeyer. “But you can feel the smiles and the happiness and the gratitude.”
Across the country, Kate Farms has pledged to donate 225,000 complete meals — over a million dollars’ worth of product — to help those most in need.Those interested in receiving aid or donating to the philanthropy effort are encouraged to do so via the Meals on Wheels West website. Nutritional formulas and shakes are available to purchase through the Kate Farms website.
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