As Produce for Patriot’s Chief Technology Officer, I traveled to San Diego from my hometown in Northern Kentucky in order to meet the devoted officers, volunteers, and farmers who are working to bring our mission into fruition. During my week-long stay, we accomplished a lot, including filing the paperwork to become a 501(c)3 nonprofit and visiting two of our potential farm affiliates. Visiting local organic farmers that have dedicated their time and resources to help military families was inspiring. As we walked through Seabreeze farm, we sampled cucumbers and beans, plucked straight from the ground. They were delicious and fresh-the perfect produce to be delivered to the families of those who served our country.
The justification and mission for Produce for Patriots can be summed up in one thank-you note that we received from one of our benefiting families.
It read, “Thank you so much for the donated food. We can’t tell you how much of a blessing this is to our family. This month is my son’s birthday. Because of this, I can afford to do a small party and will be able to still eat well the rest of the month. Thank you. Thank you!”. After reading it, Rob turned to me, pointed at it, and said “That’s why we do what we do”. I couldn’t agree more.
Cat Meadows, CTO
I have a friend who's married to a naval officer. A few weeks ago she came into our office; she was crying. She had just been to a meeting where local aid agencies were providing information to both active duty and retired military personnel and their families. The meeting was prompted by chatter coming from Washington, DC that suggested that a full government shutdown was "on the table." If the government shuts down, she said, paychecks for the military stop. She explained further that although they would not be paid, everyone would still be required to perform their duties of their uniforms.
Our friend explained that she was not upset for herself, she had a good job, but she was fearful for those families that had no safety net. Families with children, she explained, would be the hardest hit.
This, as it should any reasonable person, really upset me. I began investigating how I could help. First, I called our local Food Bank. Thankfully, they have a program that supports military families specifically. During that call I signed up for a recurring monthly financial donation.
But, my small donation is not, and would not be, enough. With 32,000 hungry military personnel and family members here in San Diego, the food bank can not reach them all. And, when they do, there is a clear lack of freshly picked, unprocessed vegetables, eggs and fruit; all of which are extremely nutritious but delicate and perishable.
There must be a way t do this, I thought.
Rob Meadows, Fonder and CEO