Natural Foods Merchandiser

Nonprofits Offer Food, Supps, Hope to Those in Need

Three nonprofit organizations based in California are hoping to spread the message about organic food, supplements and good health. Their efforts are making a difference for thousands of people.

The Painted Turtle
Back in 1988, actor Paul Newman was visiting a doctor in Connecticut who worked with people with blood disorders. Newman was moved to establish the Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

For no charge, the program allows them to attend camp with other children who have the same illness. Hanging out with a peer group allows the kids to concentrate on being kids instead of trying to compensate for their problems.

Camps are in Florida, New York, North Carolina, Ireland, France, Israel and South Africa. The newest camp, The Painted Turtle, will open in April in Lake Hughes, Calif., north of Los Angeles. Based on the results of a statewide needs assessment, the camp is tailored to children with heart disease and transplant, kidney disease and transplant, liver disease and transplant, asthma, hemophilia, sickle cell disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Painted Turtle will provide a typical camp experience—swimming, horseback riding, campfires.

Specialized medical assistance will be available. Most campers will come from low-income families. The organizers are trying to provide all-organic foods and are looking for donations. ?Typical camp food is so bad,? said Joe Glorfield, executive director. ?We want these kids to eat really good food, even if it?s just for a week.?

For information, visit or call 310.456.6350.

The Healthy Foundation
Four years ago, several people from the supplements industry got together with the intention of forming a foundation to spread the word about the importance of supplementary vitamins and minerals. As a community service, one member suggested that the group distribute vitamins to homeless people in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

The program was so successful that the organization, known as The Healthy Foundation, now concentrates exclusively on providing vitamins to the needy. Currently, The Healthy Foundation provides 10,000 students throughout the country with a chewable multiple vitamin every day, said Michael Morton, executive director of the Murrieta, Calif.-based organization.

The foundation is swamped with more requests than it can fulfill.

Several supplement makers manufacture vitamins for the foundation, but the organization needs more vitamins and cash donations to expand distribution.

Morton hopes that by mid-year the vitamin program will get a boost from the results of a study of low-income school kids in New Jersey. Using a formal double-blind study, researchers are trying to determine if students who take a multiple vitamin can improve their performance in school. The research is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the federal government.

Last year, the foundation received several national awards. To learn more, visit

Vitamin Angel
In the early 1990s, the founders of Vitamin Angel Alliance examined this disturbing statistic: Nearly a quarter of the world?s population—1.4 billion people—live in abject poverty with incomes of less than $1 a day.

Howard B. Schiffer and his friends knew they couldn?t do anything about the income level. But they knew they could inexpensively help provide for nutritional needs. Now the organization, in cooperation with various agencies, distributes vitamins and anti-worming medicine to more than 40 countries each year.

Supplements are distributed to children, pregnant women and adults. During 2004, Vitamin Alliance provided supplements and medicine to El Salvador, Honduras, the Philippines, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Sierra Leone and several other countries in Africa.

For more information, visit

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 3/p. 32

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