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June 14, 2012

Feed America's poorest children—and look good while doing it.

Although store shelves are filled with options, many contain materials that aren't good for your health, the environment, or workers' rights. Model and designer Lauren Bush-Lauren set out to change that five years ago by launching FEED, a project based on the idea that paying a fair price for a sustainable bag could also help feed children.


Bush-Lauren designs bags of all sizes that sell for a range of prices, with each bag prominently displaying a number. The number reveals the bag's significance in the effort to help feed hungry children around the world. For instance, FEED 1, the original bag in the FEED collection, provides school meals to one child for one year through the United Nations World Food Programme. The FEED 5 version is made by African artisans and provides micronutrient powder to five children for a year through the FEED Foundation's Nutrients Fund.

Partnering with retailers like Gap, Whole Foods, and Godiva throughout the years, the project has been able to sell more than a half million bags, resulting in 60 million school meals.

Bush-Lauren, President George H.W. Bush's granddaughter who's married to designer Ralph Lauren's son, is turning more attention to helping hungry children in America, too. Earlier this week, she shared highlights of FEED's domestic program during the Washington Post's "Future of Food: Food Security in the 21st Century" forum. There, she showed an early sample of this year's FEED bag design and outlined what her organization is doing for school kids in the United States.

FEED USA bag sales generate funds to help improve school food and nutrition education for children. The program empowers teachers to register for kits for a school garden that can pique kids' interest in cooking education, or even for cafeteria freezers, refrigerators, or salad bars to help a school bring healthier food options to schoolchildren. Anyone buying a bag can use the eight-digit code on the hangtag to help decide which school project the donation will fund.

Find a FEED Retailer

Bush-Lauren says the upcoming FEED USA bag will be manufactured in Massachusetts of mostly sustainable materials, providing an environmental and economic boost here in the U.S., too.

So far, 49,000 kids have been affected by FEED projects, and the product line has expanded to include clothing, teddy bears, bracelets, and scarves.