BOULDER and BROOMFIELD — The need for food assistance in underserved communities across the country is a 12-month-a-year problem, but the issue received a special spotlight in September, which has been deemed the national Hunger Action Month by advocacy groups.
During September, Justin’s LLC, the Boulder-based maker of nut butters, nut butter snacks and organic peanut butter cups, doubled down on its support of Broomfield nonprofit group Conscious Alliance, which harnesses the voices of musicians and artists to raise awareness and funds for food-accessibility projects, particularly in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Justin’s, a CA partner for 15 years, provided $15,000 in matching funds for donations provided to Conscious Alliance during September.
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“All people deserve access to healthy and nutritious food, but unfortunately that’s not the case in the world we live in today,” Justin’s vice president of marketing Penny Andino told BizWest.
A decade and a half ago, “the brand realized that we wanted to do more and something meaningful for communities,” Andino said. “But at that time we were so small and didn’t have some of the resources that we have today. But we had time, and we could send our people to Pine Ridge and give products where we can. The effort has really grown over time.”
Conscious Alliance executive director Justin Levy (not to be confused with Justin’s founder Justin Gold) told BizWest that every dollar raised can buy two meals for hungry families.
“A small donation goes a really long way,” he said.
Pine Ridge, about the same size as Connecticut, is home to about 40,000 members of the Oglala Lakota tribe, “but there’s only one full-service grocery store,” Levy said. “It’s the most economically isolated community in the country and the most spiritually and culturally rich place I’ve ever been.”
Hunger Action Month provides an opportunity for donors and brands such as Justin’s to step up with help for Pine Ridge and other similarly situated communities.
“For us, this is what we wake up and do everyday,” Levy said. “It’s what we go to bed thinking about. But September is an opportunity for us to shine extra light on the need for healthy food in communities across the country.”