Mother Nature may have been fierce this year, but the natural products industry matched it with great generosity by contributing a wide range of exceptional natural foods, supplements and products to Nourish America for its disaster relief efforts. Nourish America thanks its generous donors including UNFI, Pfizer, Clif Bar & Company, Alacer, Amy’s Kitchen, Pharmavite, Iovate, NutraOrigin, NOW Foods, Direct Relief International, New Chapter, Fresca Foods, Hyland’s, Mineral Resource International, Biotivia, Sedona Labs, NurturMe, Wellesse and Kay’s Naturals, all who sent truck loads of nutritious products as well as much-needed water and supplies to Nourish America's disaster distribution sites in 11 states.
This past April, tornados ravaged Alabama creating the most devastating disaster to hit the state in over 80 years, afflicting 47 of 67 counties, thousands of families and the loss of over 250 lives. Soon after, Nourish America partnered with National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) and NFWL board member State Senator Linda Coleman of Pratt City, AL to get needed nutritional support to families in the most damaged areas. Senator Coleman said, "Nourish America called to see how they could help. Within days we began receiving shipments of food at a time when everyone felt it was our darkest times."
Thanks to UNFI, Amy’s Kitchen, Pharmavite, New Chapter, Fresca Foods, NurturMe, Alacer, Direct Relief International, and Wellesse, Nourish America sent three 18 wheelers loaded with shelf-stable nutritional foods and bottled water. "Nourish America and supporters sent us foods that sustained hundreds of families when we had no homes, no utilities, not even water to drink or prepare a meal," continues Senator Coleman. "I will always remember how Nourish America and its donors became a light at a time of darkness."
According to distribution staff, families were amazed that the healthy foods from Nourish America actually tasted good. Many families called Senator Coleman’s office wondering where they could buy the natural products. "The impression Nourish America left on the attitudes and minds of Alabama citizens was a new and healthier way of eating and one I personally look forward to continuing," said Senator Coleman. In a state with one of the highest incidences of obesity and diabetes, Nourish America and its donors made a critical shift in how hundreds in Alabama feed their families.
Tornados did not just land in Alabama. Nourish America sent provisions to damaged Tunica, MS and St. Louis, MO as well. Councilwoman Hazel Erby said, “The homes here look like life-sized doll houses since the winds stripped away roofs and the sidings.” In response, Clif Bar & Company, Alacer, Direct Relief International and Kay’s Natural sent nutritious foods, supplements and supplies to grateful families.
On May 22nd, the town of Joplin, MO was demolished by the full force of a tornado. Nourish America responded once again with a continuing stream of generous donations. Clif Bar & Company, New Chapter, Mineral Resource International, Direct Relief International, Pfizer, Biotivia and Hyland’s all sent exceptional foods, supplements and supplies. Disaster victims received Nourish America products from a near-by Racine Christian church as well as at Suzanne’s, the local health food store, whose staff provided free vegetarian meals to victims and emergency workers. Suzanne wrote, “Your generosity has allowed us to help and bless so many people.”
Next came the flooding disasters along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Once again, Nourish America and it’s supporters were there providing much needed nutrition and emergency supplies to disaster sites in Minot, North Dakota as well as the rural area surrounding Shenandoah, IA where record flooding forced thousands to evacuate and destroyed entire towns. In nearby Hamburg, Iowa, citizens bravely fought rising rivers to save their historic town. Heroically, the town’s citizens rallied together building a brand new levee to avoid losing half their buildings. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad arrived to cheer them on and commend their bravery. But sadly, the levee didn't hold as the flooded river crested at record highs and hundreds lost their homes. Neighbors in nearby Shenandoah took in many of the evacuated families, while some evacuees with no where to go, camped in tents on hillsides during wind storms of 45 miles an hour, hail storms, and tornado warnings.
With the help of Robin Read, CEO of the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NWFL), Mayor Cathy Crain of Hamburg, and donors like UNFI, Alacer and Direct Relief International, Nourish America was there to help. Word spread throughout a network of churches and local media that free foods and supplements were available to evacuated families after church on a Sunday. Robin Read said, "Hundreds arrived. Everyone was so grateful for the products. No federal agencies or other national charities had provided food, but Nourish America came through for them. Most families went away with a month's supply of food, beverages and supplements."
The day was a great success. "The families who came were pleasantly surprised at the high-quality products that were available to them. One man told me that never in his life had he gone somewhere to ask for free food, but his town was flooded, he didn't have work, he didn't have a choice. He expected to be given someone's leftover food but was happy to find healthy products that he regularly bought for himself. Another gentleman said that he had a hard time deciding whether to use his last bit of money to buy food or spend it on gas to come to our event. He was very glad that he came," said Robin Read.
When the wild fire disasters hit both Arizona and Texas, Nourish America was there with supplements and supplies from Direct Relief International and Sedona Labs.
Finally in late August, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee deluged the Northeast. Many communities required immediate relief for disaster victims and natural product manufacturers stepped up to the plate once again. Clif Bar & Company, Pharmavite, Alacer, NutraOrigin, NOW Foods and Pfizer contributed hundreds of thousands energy bars and bottles of vitamins and other supplements for families in need.
"Thanks to our generous donors and corporate sponsors for helping Nourish America support the health and wellbeing of tens of thousands of families at a time of severe trauma and loss," said Nourish America Executive Director Michael Morton. "Our donors helped us show these families that in their darkest hours that they were not alone. Thank you to all our donors for their great hearts and great generosity."
“United Natural Foods was extremely pleased to support Nourish America and the critical services it provided to several communities severely impacted this summer,” commented Lisa Madsen, UNFI’s Director of Sustainability, Philanthropy and Internal Communications. “Thanks to the enthusiasm and assistance of our associates, we align with national hunger relief organizations like Nourish America to help those in need.”
About Nourish America
Nourish America is an award-winning 501 (c) 3 organization that provides nutritional supplements and nourishing foods (including naturals and organics) to those in need in America. This year alone, Nourish America provided over $2 million of nutritional products to Americans in need.