DSF Scholar Kai Suematsu is connecting local businesses with community members in need of food resources during the coronavirus crisis. As the co-founder of the Kobu Foundation, Kai mobilizes a volunteer team to deliver boxes of food to families who sign up on the Kobu Foundation’s website.
Adapting in a time of need
“At the time of the outbreak we did not have a food assistance program as we had other project plans for the rest of the semester,” shares Kai. “When everything began shutting down, we made a decision to pivot our operations to support families that could no longer work, as well as those who were hoping to limit their exposure at the grocery store. I heard about food being wasted at bakeries which sparked the idea of redirecting the surplus food to those that need it.”
Combatting stigma to maximize impact
“Since we started offering food boxes three weeks ago, we have taken our boxes a step further and are now delivering prepared boxes that include milk, produce, eggs, frozen meat, canned food, spaghetti, etc. We hope that these boxes of food can be used to add more food to groceries for families during this time. One of our primary challenges is combatting a stigma around receiving the help, although we hope that people recognize this as an opportunity and option if needed to supplement groceries, reduce costs, or simply to provide meals for three to four days.”
To sign up to receive food boxes from the Kobu Foundation, visit kobufoundation.org/food-assistance-program.