I have always thought in terms of possibility. What would be possible if every single person that could gave one dollar a day for one month? Even if we down play the numbers. Even if we say only 2 million people could give one dollar a day for one month that would equate to 60 million dollars. Now let your imagination go wild. Think bigger. If every company became a giving company, giving a percentage of profits each year to ending hunger and providing education to those who do not have access to it, we could eradicate poverty. A pretty amazing idea. GIVEBAGS is a small company making a huge difference. Just seeing what they do makes me giddy with hope for the future. 1 in 6 Americans is suffering from hunger. That's more than 50 million people in the United States. GIVEBAGS may seem like an ordinary brown lunch bag with cute sayings printed on it, but they are so much more. With every bag sold, one meal is donated to someone in need. GIVEBAGS works hand in hand with Feeding America and they make sure that the meals are distributed equally all across the nation. Every time you pack your child lunch, every time you pack your own lunch or have a picnic with friends or bake treats for family you could doing so with GIVEBAGS. And each time you would be making something for yourself or someone else you would know that someone around the nation was not going hungry because of the brown bag in your hand. Pretty amazing. A simple concept made into something that has the power to change lives. That is true innovation; that is compassionate living. I had the opportunity to interview the owner of this amazing company, Joshua Kennedy and find out more about what GIVEBAGS is all about!
Hello Joshua! It is so lovely to have you! First off, how did you first get involved with GIVEBAGS?
My good friends Florian and Rebecca founded GIVEBAGS a few years back. They came up with the idea while on their honeymoon where they traveled across the country for 6 weeks (quite the honeymoon, right?). While they were traveling they noticed the large amounts of homeless people going hungry. Growing up in socialist Europe, they weren’t used to seeing so much inequality. From this experience, they realized they had to do something to give back, not only to the homeless but also to those kids and families who are suffering from hunger. Not soon after, GIVEBAGS was launched.
Flo and Rebecca grew the company and I took over last year when they had to move to Germany temporarily for work. They plan on returning to join the project in a few years.
I’m a registered nurse and have been in this field since December 2000.I see people from all walks of life come in and out of the hospital. I know how important it is to give back to those who are without and that is why this company is so important to me.
Tell us more about how GIVEBAGS give back, are there more giving projects you want to pursue in the future?
For every pack of GIVEBAGS sold, we donate $1.00 dollar to Feeding America. That is 10% of our gross income. Since our founding, we have been able to donate thousands of meals to this organization. Feeding America works by gathering a surplus of food from farmers, manufacturers and the government. Then they distribute the food to over 60,000 U.S. food banks. We love this because the money doesn’t only go to one food bank, it is spread across food banks around the country.
As for pursuing more giving projects in the future, we definitely are. We are in the process of designing a new product. Without giving too much away, it’s similar to a greeting card. As of now, we are in the beginning phases but we can’t wait to see the final product out and furthering our cause.
What are your thoughts on giving companies? Do you think that every company has the ability to give back in some way?
I definitely do. Thankfully, companies’ giving back seems to be taking off in the corporate world. For example, Starbucks provides its employees with the opportunity for free education, McDonald’s began their “Pay with Lovin’” campaign last month and there is a short list of corporations such as Target and Johnson & Johnson who donate millions of dollars a year to charities. Of course, there could be more and there needs to be more. I believe fostering an environment of philanthropy in business is so important, especially in large corporations, as a way to set an example to employees and customers alike on the benefits of giving.
Are your bags made from recycled sources? Is becoming a green company something that is important to you?
Yes, our bags, as well as the packaging of the bags, are made from 100% recycled material and the ink we use is biodegradable. Further, we like to encourage our customers to recycle their bags when they are through with them. We believe embracing green living, as a company, is especially important to the giving back process. Not only does our product give back by providing meals, it also gives back to the environment by choosing to not further pollution.
Are there any plans to branch outside of America and donate elsewhere in the world?
As the company grows, we would love to have the opportunity to branch out to global charities.
Who inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by people who give selflessly of themselves and their time regardless of their status and by people who take the time to recognize the humanity in others.
Do you have a favorite author, or a quote that you live by?
I live by the phrase “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” It keeps me motivated when I’m feeling rundown.
Do you have a couple amazing non-profit organizations that you would like to share with us?
Of course, as you can tell I love Feeding America. But I also love the Best Friends Animal Society, an organization who has spread the no-kill movement in animal shelters, and the Trevor Project, an organization committed to suicide prevention in LGBTQ youth.
And just to get to know you a little better, what are the top five places in the world you would like to see and why?
1. Germany, to visit the GIVEBAGS creators, Flo & Becca
2. I have a dream of going on an African safari.
3. The Netherlands, to go backpacking
4. I’m an avid scuba diver so I would like to visit Queensland, Australia and go scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
5. Sydney, Australia, to walk across the Sydney Harbor Bridge
Can you link us to where everyone can purchase GIVEBAGS?
Yes, please come visit us at www.givebags.com. If you purchase more than 2 10-packs we will ship to you for free! We really appreciate the support and are so happy to work with those who are committed to giving back to their communities.