The glamorous runways that Lauren Bush has graced are a world away from the dusty airport runways where she’s touched down for her most important role — fighting the global hunger epidemic.
The model, who has been featured in glossy magazines such as W and Glamour, is also a designer and philanthropist. She navigates her busy life with a sense of purpose, all while helping to make a major impact in the fight against world hunger.
A member of the politically powerful Bush family (both Grandfather George and Uncle George W. Bush have served as President), Lauren grew up in Houston, Texas-- and from a young age, she was exposed to entrepreneurial ideas by both parents.
As a young woman, Bush had a light bulb moment-- shaping her path in life and eventually leading her to helping millions of people around the world receive food and nourishment.
“It started in 2007 when I was a college student,” Bush explains. While traveling as a spokesperson for the UN Food Program, Bush saw the ravages of hunger firsthand. She realized that a small amount of money could literally make the difference between life and death for child.
“For seventy-four dollars, a child could attend school for a year—get food, be alert, attentive and learn” Bush recalls. But families could not afford the program.
Drawing on her experience as a model and designer, she had a simple idea to solve the problem: “A reusable, eco-friendly bag—the sale of which could feed one kid in school for a year… and the consumer who bought it would know exactly where their money was going to go.” Bush designed the FEED bag, and the consumer response was overwhelming.
That notion was the foundation of FEED Projects. Stated simply, their mission is “To create good products that help FEED the world.” Fast forward a few years—FEED has sold more than 500,000 bags and provided close to 70,000,000 meals. Lauren Bush is the FEED Projects Co-Founder and CEO.
“Hunger kills more people that AIDS, Malaria and TB combined,” explains Bush. “Yet it quietly persists in killing people. Hundreds of millions of people go hungry every day.”
Making things even more tragic—the first victims tend to be women and children. “Because of where they were born, kids may slowly starve to death, chronically malnourished,” Bush points out.
The for-profit FEED Projects along with the not-for-profit FEED Foundation are taking on the hunger problem head on—and finding innovative ways to do it that are appealing to consumers.
One of their latest collaborations is with the ultimate symbol of childhood—Disney, and retail leader Nordstrom. The two companies are teaming up with FEED Projects to offer philanthropic pieces in their “Small World” collection. This whimsical collection of stylish kid’s apparel, accessories and footwear features a new country each season. The current collection is called “Indian Summer.”
“It’s a childhood dream to work with Disney and Small World,” says Bush. "For many children, the iconic ride is the first exposure they have to different cultures of the world—it’s a happy, cheerful way to teach kids.”
It’s been forty-five years since Walt Disney debuted the charming “It’s a Small World: A Salute to UNICEF” ride. Decades later, Disney, Nordstrom and FEED Projects are coming up with new approaches to help the world’s most vulnerable people.
Funds raised from FEED Projects Small World will benefit UNICEF, enabling them to give vitamin supplements to children in need. “UNICEF is such a wonderful, reputable organization,” notes Bush.
Wherever she is in the world, Bush holds fast to this thought: “When you choose to buy something, you are making a decision.” She hopes that consumers will choose products that are beautiful and useful to them—and impact the lives of those who need nourishment.
For more information on FEED Projects:
FEED Our Small World available at Nordstrom
FEED Projects Website
FEED on Facebook
FEED on Twitter
The FEED Foundation