In honor of Labor Day, we’re revisiting a FACE of the South who inspired us for the work she’s doing on a global scale. Lauren Bush Lauren’s tireless efforts to end hunger are exhaustive and motivational … and the perfect example of what Labor Day is all about. Welcome (back), FACE of the South, Lauren Bush Lauren.
Lauren Bush Lauren is a maker of social change whose personal experience inspired her to join the fight to end hunger. Through the launch of her social business, FEED, she has created a model that allows people of all ages to partake in the fight without simply writing a check. Lauren, who is the granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush, niece of former President George W. Bush and daughter-in-law of designer Ralph Lauren, has been able to put a dent in the crisis that is hunger. With each purchase of FEED’s bags, accessories and t-shirts, meals and micronutrient packets are given to those in need and sustainable livelihoods are provided to under-served populations.
Lauren is vehemently passionate about eliminating hunger around the world and giving people a tangible way to join the global mission. She may have famous relatives but she has carved out an impressive space all her own as a new mother, an inspiring businesswoman, a woman of influence and a Texas gal. It is an honor to share her mission with you and welcome her as today’s FACE of the South!
You joined the United Nations World Food Programme as a student at Princeton University. What attracted you to this cause, and what inspired you to start FEED?
I consider my experience as a World Food Programme student ambassador one of the most important things I’ve ever done. Once you hold a hungry child in your arms and know that something can be done about it, there’s no going back. I started FEED shortly after returning from my travels with WFP as a way to help my peers to get involved in the fight to end hunger. Buying a cool bag is way more realistic for a college student than writing a big check to a nonprofit — that model has proved itself time and time again. Nine years in (with a community that has grown far beyond college students), we recently surpassed 94 million meals given to children and families in need.
What is the mission of FEED?
Our mission is to create good products that help feed the world. The hope is that, one day, we will move from a world that needs FEED, to a world that is well-fed and well-nourished. We’ll shut our doors when that day comes.
Do you have a current favorite FEED product?
I’m very involved in product development, so it’s safe to say that there’s nothing we sell that I don’t love. That being said, I am really excited about our new High Tide Collection — beautiful dipped bags and pouches that I plan to transition from spring to summer. The dipped bags give 50 school meals and the pouches give 25.
Are there any new products/ventures on the horizon?
We saw an amazing response from our customers around FEED Supper, our monthlong fundraising initiative in September, where people host dinner parties and ask guests to donate meals. It was hard not to think about expanding into tabletop and food after scrolling #FEEDSupper on Instagram and seeing how our community was bringing together hunger advocacy and entertaining so organically. There could be some evolution in that direction in the future.
As a woman in business, what are some challenges you have faced?
I feel fortunate to have felt very supported in my career — I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing mentors and an amazing team of smart, talented women. I think it’s pretty rare to get to work in an environment like that, but it’s so empowering.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
I have this quote by Minor Myers hanging in my office and intentionally look at it every day as my North Star: “Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
What do you think distinguishes the South from other regions of the United States?
Although I have lived in the Northeast for the last 14 years, I really enjoyed growing up in Texas. The hustle and bustle of NYC is exciting, but I always love returning to Texas where the pace is a bit more relaxed and the weather warm and nice. I also love the signature friendliness of Southerners.
What is your next restaurant destination?
With a new babe at home, I have not been going out to eat as often as I used to. I am going to go to a new place called Bar Primi with some girlfriends in the coming weeks.
Do you have any good book recommendations?
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant is a very inspiring business book about how to think and act differently when it comes to business. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a beautiful novel that takes place during World War II that I really enjoyed!
What are three things you cannot live without, excluding God, family and friends?
Travel, art and music
Thank you, Lauren Bush Lauren, for sharing what inspires you to make a difference in the world. Click here to learn more about FEED and see how you can support the initiative. And click here to read even more inspiring FACES stories!