The buzz is palpable here today on the show floor at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. It’s truly inspiring to see thousands of products and organizations focused on health and wellness in one place. Perhaps what inspires me most about the natural products industry is that it’s not just about business—it’s about vision. For example, last night, Delicious Living’s senior food editor, Elisa Bosley, and I joined industry leaders at Angels Stadium for the Vitamin Angels’ League of Angels event.
“Twenty-four million, four-hundred-and-eighty-four thousand, six-hundred and thirty-one children: This is the number [of children] we reached when we nearly doubled our reach in 2010,” began Howard Shiffer, President and Founder of the nonprofit organization that works to save the lives of millions of children around the world by combating malnutrition with key nutrients, such as vitamin A.
As sprinklers watered the grass on the field and the jumbotron displayed some of the most impressive facts about the organization, Howard continued: “I honestly believe that one day I am going to walk into a hospital and one of these children is going to be a doctor there that’s going to help me. One of these children might discover a cure for a disease that your family is vulnerable to. One of these children might lead their country or become a great musician.”
Vitamin Angels works in 43 countries worldwide and partners with companies throughout the natural products industry to obtain the vitamins and to raise funds. “I want every person to know that whether you’re donating four dollars or four hundred thousand, somewhere in the world, someone is in a better place because you said ‘yes.’ These children deserve a chance to live a better life.”
Betsy Rono, a field partner from Western Kenya spoke on behalf of her greater community, who has benefited from Vitamin Angels’ aid: “Often pregnant women are found eating clay by the riverside because of the body’s increased needs for nutrients. They are malnourished. Today Vitamin Angels has reached about 20,000 pregnant women in Kenya which translates to 20,000 newborn babies—children who are alive today. I am greatly indebted to you for sacrificing to help these poor mothers.”
Vitamin Angels hopes to double their reach again in the next three to five years, to about 50 million children. “We will do this,” said Schiffer. Needless to say, we filled out our pledge cards. (To donate, go to vitaminangels.org.)