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For Lauren Bush Lauren, feeding the hungry is in fashion

Nearly 850 million people worldwide are “food insecure” – they’re hungry and do not know when they’re going to eat their next meal. Lauren Bush Lauren, the former model and niece of President George W. Bush, decided in 2007 that she would try to stop hunger through fashion.

Lauren Bush launched FEED, a socially conscious, for-profit company that sells 60 artisan, locally-produced accessories like chic organic cotton and burlap totes, Alpaca wool scarves and hand-woven bracelets to consumers online and in national retail chains. A percentage of sales go toward feeding malnourished children in third-world nations and the U.S. (For example, $36 will be donated when an individual purchases a $125 bag; that money pays for nutritious school lunches for two schoolchildren for an entire year).

“I really love the fashion industry and I wanted to combine that passion in a tangible way to give back,” Bush Lauren told The Daily Ticker last week at the Milken Institute Global Conference. FEED has given “over 75 million meals ($10 million) but obviously there’s a lot more that needs to be done.”

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One in seven people go to bed hungry every night and hunger and malnutrition kills more people than AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis combined, says the World Food Programme. Here at home nearly 49 million Americans, or one in six individuals, live in a household that is food insecure, according to a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report. More than 16 million U.S. children are hungry every day. FEED has established partnerships with reputable government agencies and nonprofits that are committed to world hunger, including UNICEF, Feeding America, Room to Read and the Robin Hood Foundation, (RED).

Bush Lauren said consumers – especially millennials – are willing to pay a little more for a product if they know the money will help those in need. And the donations do more than just provide important energy and nutrients to young children.

“We’re incentivizing education,” Bush Lauren noted. “Parents are sending their kids to school because of this free lunch, kids are learning and staying in school.”

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