One Bar, One Child

A Company Built on a Mother's Love

Have you heard the story of how KUTOA was founded? You likely already know KUTOA's founder, Joey Grassia, but the real credit goes to Joey's mother, Alice.

While it was Joey's travels in Southeast Asia and his personal pursuit of a healthy diet that brought the issue of proper nutrition to light, it was the love of his mother that made his dream possible.

Although Alice was tragically taken from her family and friends, it is in honor of Alice that Joey founded KUTOA. Now, 6 years since Alice's passing, it is in her memory - and by way of her love - that KUTOA is swiftly approaching 1 million children fed.

In the words of French novelist, Honore de Balzac, "A mother's happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories."
December 04, 2015

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Volunteering with Mission Graduates this #GivingTuesday 2015

Every year, on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, the world comes together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and selflessness. It’s a simple, yet effective way to give back during the holiday season and there are no shortage of ways to participate! Whether it’s through random acts of kindness or by donating your time, truly everyone can find their own individual ways to celebrate giving.

 

                                                 

As Giving Tuesday grew closer and closer, the KUTOA Team began to consider what it would do this year to give back. Knowing that we wanted to volunteer our time locally in San Francisco, we began searching the city over for the right organization to partner with this holiday season. While there were many excellent organizations to choose from, one in particular that attracted our attention was Mission Graduates. This organization works exclusively within San Francisco’s Mission District to provide the necessary guidance and motivation to its students in order for them to pursue higher education. Working directly to ensure a happier and more prosperous life for children of all ages, KUTOA couldn’t resist the opportunity to get involved with this organization.

                         

Soon after reaching out, Mission Graduates informed us that we would be helping to assist their existing program in Bryant Elementary School, specifically with a classroom of 4th graders. As we arrived at Bryant Elementary for their after school program, we were welcomed by Mission Graduates and their ecstatic students with open arms! Our time spent with the 4th graders of Bryant Elementary was equally as fun and entertaining as it was educational, with us spending good portions of our time practicing multiplication, experimenting with science, and getting some quality exercise and nutrition in the process.

                         

 

As a team, we were looking for an opportunity to volunteer while imparting some beneficial guidance or motivation, and for this Mission Graduates was the perfect outlet! Not only did we get out of the office and shake off our cobwebs, but we got to positively impact the children of our local community in the process. This is only one example however of ways you can give back and enjoy your time spent doing so. We all have our own interests, hobbies, skills and experiences. The only thing left is to decide where you want to make your greatest impact?

                                                       

 

We would like to thank Mission Graduates for being so welcoming to KUTOA this Giving Tuesday. Mission Graduates is doing crucial work to ensure that all its students have the skills necessary to pursue education. We look forward to working with Mission Graduates in the future!   

Giving Back in the US

Part 3 


In a March push to donate a meal for every bar sold, KUTOA started one of it’s many projects to give back. This time our meals, on behalf of our supporters, were donated in the form of nearly 6,000 KUTOA Kids Squares to 4 different organizations. Having completed similar projects in the past, KUTOA had already recognized some key standards in looking for the right organization to receive our donation; that the programs be child oriented and clearly making a widespread impact in the local community. With that in mind, we began our search for the perfect organizations to receive our KUTOA Kid Squares.

                          

The 3rd organization that KUTOA happily sought out is potentially one of our favorites yet. This is the FIT Program, or Food In Tummies Program of the Junior League of Austin. Simply put, FIT feeds economically disadvantaged children within the Del Valle Independent School District. For Austin, a city considered by many to be one of the most progressive areas of Texas, the necessity and impact of a program like FIT can not be overstated. Inside Austin’s Del Valle ISD, over 96% of children in the district are economically disadvantaged, meaning that 96% of its students are greatly dependent on school meal programs as a source of food security. Outside of the meals they receive at school, these children don’t know when or from where their next meal will come. This notion can be particularly hard to digest when one considers their access to food security once the weekend has arrived. Any time that they aren’t in school the children are food insecure, and that’s where FIT comes in.

                           


While it currently remains a small program that only services Hillside Elementary School and Baty Elementary School (both apart of Del Valle ISD), the FIT Program successfully donates over 50,000 backpacks of food to children each year. On every Friday of the school year, FIT goes out to these two schools, backpacks in tow, and distributes backpacks to over 1,600 children, providing for them a source of vital nutrition for the weekend. Nobody could say it better than this 3rd grade student from Hillcrest, who said “Thank you for the food you donated to us; and thank you for filling our empty tummies.". As we said, the nutrition that is provided for these children cannot be overstated. The saying is true, we are what we eat, and this can be especially true for a poorly nourished child. Without adequate food for a child, everything around them is affected, as a result. Their attendance, their overall participation, and their ability to perform and focus on gaining an education all begin to suffer. We’ve all had our days in school when lunch couldn’t come soon enough, and we all know how distracting the voice of hunger can be. It’s for these reasons that KUTOA was proud to partner with the FIT Program, and to silence that hunger in these children’s bellies. As a company devoted to providing the most fundamental necessities for happiness and prosperity, KUTOA couldn’t pass on this opportunity.

                                             


Keeping in mind that we wanted to make our impact beyond one organization, we began to reach out to the FIT Program in order to offer them nearly 800 KUTOA Kid Squares. Made with high quality, whole, all natural non-GMO verified ingredients, the FIT Program happily accepted our donation with great thanks. With this donation, on the behalf of all of our fantastic supporters, over 800 kids within the Del Valle ISD can continue to nourish their minds along with their bodies!


                             

KUTOA would like to extend its sincerest gratitude towards the FIT Program and the Junior League of Austin for all that they have accomplished and will continue to accomplish for the children of Del Valle ISD. Your crucial role in the educational success of over 1,600 kids can never be overstated. If you would like to learn more about the Food In Tummies Program and how you can help support the Austin area, visit their website at jlaustin.org.

 

Giving Back in the US

Part 2

Beginning in March, KUTOA started a project to give meals, on behalf of our supporters. As a one-for-one company, every bar you purchase feeds a child in need, either internationally or at home. Depending on the organization and situation the children are facing, KUTOA donates several different types of meals. In this case, we donated our very own Kids Squares. Having completed similar projects in the past, KUTOA had already recognized some key standards in looking for the right organization to receive our donation; that the program be child-oriented and provide the proper nutrition for these children. With that in mind, we began our search for the perfect organizations to receive our KUTOA Kid Squares.

                                
                       

One of the organizations that we immediately contacted was the Central Area Food Bank of Texas. Established in 1982 in Austin, the Capital Area Food Bank has long since devoted its resources to fighting hunger in Central Texas. Donating over 31 million pounds of food during the last year alone, the Capital Area Food Bank services over 46,000 hungry people every week, 34% of which are children. Thanks to nearly 17,000 volunteers each year, the Capital Area Food Bank has long remained as a shining example of an organization that is conscious of the needs that surrounds it's community. They have begun to effectively tackle, among many things, a pervasive and often well disguised social issue. With currently over 1 in 4 children in Texas being food insecure, not knowing where or when their next meal will come from, the Capital Area Food Bank has launched specific programs aimed at fostering greater nutrition for the children of Central Texas, programs that have left the KUTOA Team very excited.

                                    
                                    

One such program is the Kids Café program, which began in 1998 nationwide in collaboration with the organization Feeding America. With the specific intent of teaching children the importance of good nutrition, the Kids Café offers nutritious afterschool and summer-time meals to children ranging from 5-18 years of age. This alternate source of nutrition for children outside of school is of particular importance. As is often the case for children who face food insecurity, their school is their only available source of nutrition. With the Kids Café, children now don’t have to rely solely on schools for their meals, but can seek out other options. This is significantly important come summer time when schools, along with their food programs, are closed. For these reasons, KUTOA immediately recognized the potential to make an impact in the lives of some children who really needed it!

                                    

Keeping in mind that we wanted to make our impact in more than one organization, we began to reach out to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in order to offer them nearly 1,200 KUTOA Kid Squares. Made with high quality, whole, all natural non-GMO verified fruits, nuts, and seeds, the Capital Area Food Bank immediately accepted our donation with a smile. Thanks to this donation, on the behalf of all of our fantastic supporters, nearly 1,200 kids within the Austin area can continue to nourish their lives and bodies.

KUTOA would like to extend its gratitude to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas for all that they have accomplished and will continue to accomplish. If you would like to learn more about the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and how you can help support the Austin area, visit their website at AustinFoodBank.org.

Giving Back in the US

      Part 1

Beginning in March, KUTOA started a project to give back to its supporting communities in the form of donating nearly 6,000 of our KUTOA Kids Squares. Having completed similar projects in the past, KUTOA had already recognized some key standards in looking for the right organization to receive our donation; that the program be child oriented, and that we wanted to spread our impact across the US. With that in mind, we began our search for the perfect organizations for our KUTOA Kid Squares.

                                 

One organization that we immediately contacted, having donated to it previously in the past, was the Covenant House. Founded in 1972 with the simple, profound mission to help homeless kids escape the streets, the Covenant House has become the largest privately funded charity in the Americas providing loving care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. Serving over 14,000 youth in California  and Texas last year alone, the Covenant House not only offers those in need services like shelter, food and clothing, but also provides for their mental and physical health, as well as programs designed to introduce youth back into schools or the workplace. When studying the details of the Covenant House and what all they provide for homeless youth, KUTOA immediately recognized the potential to make an impact in the lives of some youth who really needed it!

                                                                

Keeping in mind that we wanted to make our impact in more than one organization and location, we began to reach out to the Covenant Houses in Hollywood, California and Houston, Texas in order to offer each of them over 1,500 of our own KUTOA Kid Squares. Made with high quality, whole, all natural non-GMO verified ingredients, the Covenant Houses of California and Texas delightedly accepted our donation with open arms. With over 80% of their financing coming from private donations, the Covenant House of California remains extremely appreciative of those who seek out to help their youth. Thanks to our donation, over 3,100 sheltered youth in the US can continue to nourish their lives and bodies.

                                                                          

KUTOA would like to extend its gratitude towards the Covenant House programs, especially in California and Texas, for all that they have accomplished and will continue to accomplish for youth in certain need of empowerment, guidance, and safety. If you would like to learn more about the Covenant House and how you can help support youth to reinvent themselves, visit their website at CovenantHouse.org.


January 31, 2015

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Cooking with KUTOA: Gluten-Free Popcorn Balls

                      

 

Cooking Time: 15 min

Makes: 8-10 servings

Feeds: 3 malnourished children

With households getting ready to throw parties for this year’s Super Bowl game, the KUTOA team decided to get to work on a healthy alternative to the traditional unhealthy party snacks. That in mind, we decided to make Popcorn Balls! Popcorn Balls are a popular party snack, which allow a level of healthy customization that other traditional party snacks cannot. Plus, they can be made completely vegan and free of any non-GMO’s or gluten!! It was this flexibility that made this recipe so attractive and delicious.

Popcorn Balls are a super fast and super easy way to feed a large group of people. For this recipe, we decided to choose our Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars. However, since this recipe includes nuts, we also included an alternate, nut-free version of our recipe, by opting to swap out our Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars for our nut-free, Chocolate Banana KUTOA Bars. To accent the flavor of chocolate in either of our KUTOA Bars, we chose to include gluten-free salted pretzels and raisins in our Popcorn Balls. With the salty crunch of the pretzels and the sweet taste of chocolate and raisins, we have no doubts that this recipe will put smiles on faces without adding inches to the waist!

                         

Needed Ingredients:

With Nuts:
  • 3-4 Chocolate Espresso KUTOA Bars (or a flavor of your choosing)
  • 6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
  • ½ cup of honey or agave nectar
  • ½ cup of peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup of chopped gluten-free salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
Without Nuts:
  • 3-4 Chocolate Banana KUTOA Bars (the only KUTOA Bar free of nuts)
  • 6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
  • 1/8 cup of butter
  • ¼ cup of corn syrup
  • ½ of packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of condensed milk
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of chopped gluten-free salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup of raisins

                          

Preparation:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil.

 

  1. While popping the popcorn, chop up the pretzels and KUTOA Bars. The size of the chopped KUTOA Bars is up to your own personal taste. In our case, we diced them down to about 1/8” x 1/8”, but they can also be made bigger for a more pronounced taste of the KUTOA Bars, if preferable.

              

 

     3.

 WHEN MAKING WITH NUTS: In a saucepan, and on medium to low heat, bring the peanut/almond butter and honey/agave nectar to a low boil, making sure it doesn’t burn. Stir continuously until the mixture becomes fairly loose and free to pour/mix.

                   

 WHEN MAKING WITHOUT NUTS: In a saucepan, and on medium heat, mix the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar while continuously stirring. Bring the mixture to a medium boil, measuring it constantly with a thermometer. Then pour in the condensed milk and vanilla extract, while continuing to stir, and bring the mixture up to 238 degrees F (114 degrees C). After reaching 238 degrees F, remove the mixture from the heat briefly in order for it to cool for only a bit.

 

  1. Fill a large bowl with popcorn, raisins, pretzels, and KUTOA Bars. Then, very quickly (without allowing it to cool) pour the heated mixture from your saucepan over the popcorn, and mix continuously.

 

                                  

 

  1. Once all the ingredients are evenly distributed and coated, and it becomes cool enough to handle, form 2” Popcorn Balls by firmly pressing the popcorn in your hands. Place the formed Popcorn Balls on the lined baking sheet, and allow them to cool.

 

 

 

 

                    

 

 

 

 

Cooking with KUTOA: Blueberry Almond Crusted Cheese Cake!

Cook Time: 30-45 min.

Servings: 8

Children Feed as a Result: 6

             As part of our blog, KUTOA has begun experimenting with KUTOA Bars in recipes! We offer gluten free, vegan, non-GMO verified health bars, which are also free of soy, dairy and added sugar. More exciting than that, however, is KUTOA's mission-based business model, providing a meal to an undernourished child for every bar sold. In fact, as a result of cooking this Cheese Cake, 6 undernourished children received meals!!! For these reasons, KUTOA can be a unique cooking ingredient - an ingredient not only beneficial to your health, but to the health of children around the world too!!!

            For our first recipe installment, KUTOA has baked up a Cheese Cake using our own Blueberry Almond KUTOA Bars. We were inspired to use them in forming, more specifically, the crust of our Cheese Cake, leading to the creation of what we like to call our, “Blueberry Almond Crusted Cheese Cake”. What's great about this idea is that it is very versatile. The recipe can be altered to your own dietary tastes and restrictions, and the crust can be made from ANY KUTOA Bar!! Deciding to play with the flavor of Blueberry and Lemon, we chose our Blueberry Almond KUTOA Bars to do the trick!

Needed Ingredients:
Cake:
  • 5-6 Blueberry Almond KUTOA Bars (depending on desired thickness of crust)
  • 2 (8.oz) Packages of Fat-Free Cream Cheese
  • 2/3 Cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of sugar (divided)
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract & 1/2 Teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)
  • 3 Eggs (or ¾ cup of egg substitute)
  • 1 Cup (8.oz) Fat-Free Sour Cream
    Topping:
    (Any topping will work, we chose whipped cream with a lemon glaze)
    • ½ Cup of Confectioners Sugar
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • Dessert Filling of choice (in our case low-fat whipped cream

     

      

    Step 1:

    Blend 5-6 Blueberry Almond KUTOA Bars in a food processor, or something equivalent. Then, coat the bottom of a greased 9-in pie plate with the blended KUTOA Bars, making sure to give them a firm press into the plate.

    Step 2:

    In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, 2/3 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy (about 3 min). Gradually add the eggs (or egg substitute); beat until smooth. Pour into a 9-in. pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until puffy and light brown around the edges. Then, let it cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

    Step 3:

    Meanwhile, combine the sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla together, and spread it over the cheesecake. Bake for 10 minutes longer, and then let it cool completely on a wire rack or in a refrigerator.

    Step 4:

    As your cake cools, in a small bowl combine the confectioners sugar, lemon juice and water, until it makes a smooth glaze. In order to make the glaze thicker (to preference), simply let it stand in a microwave for about 1 min, and continue to stir until cooled. 

              

         

     

      December 16, 2014

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      7 Ways to Give Back this Holiday Season!

      Whether it’s sharing with your immediate kin, or sharing holiday spirits with others, the holiday season is about giving. With this celebrated season of giving growing near, many people find themselves seeking opportunity to give back. For this, KUTOA has assembled a list of 7 fantastic ways to give back, in order to further provide a brighter holiday season!

       

      1. Save a Life by Donating Blood:

      • Donating blood has always been an effective and direct way to give back to the community, but donating blood is especially crucial during the winter season. Usually as a result of poor weather, blood drives suffer shortages in blood donations during the winter season. Everyday the Red Cross supplies over 15,000 units of blood to people in need all over the U.S. During the last winter season alone the Red Cross had to cancel nearly 1,500 donation drives, resulting in a loss of over 50,000 blood donations. So if during this Christmas season you find yourself looking for an effective and inexpensive way to give back, consider donating blood and saving a life!

          2. Donate Money to Organizations and Charities:

      • Donating money is probably one of the most diverse ways to give back. During the holiday seasons, there are ample opportunities to give back through donating money, whether it’s to a local charity ringing a bell in front of your local supermarket or an international organization. Donating money offers a unique way to give back this holiday season, because it is such an open-ended and customizable way to do so. There are thousands of different organizations the world over, all in need of cash donations. These organizations can range anywhere from the World Food Program, a United Nations organization with the mission of ending world hunger, to the organization Miracle Babies, which seeks to provide the financial opportunity to unite impoverished families and their prematurely born babies across great distances. The ability for money donations to be so personalized to such unique causes and beliefs, proves to make it a great option to give back during the holiday season.

                                         

      1. Donate a Gift to Those Less Fortunate:
      • Similar to donating money, gift donations are another incredibly diverse way to give back during the holiday season. There are, as previously mentioned, numerous organizations and charities, both locally and internationally, that provide gifts of all kinds of variety for others. One such organization is One Warm Coat, which gives donated coats to those in need. This can be exceptionally beneficial to those without coats during the holiday seasons as the temperatures drop. Another opportunity to give back this holiday season through gift donations is through the U.S. Marine Corp program known as Toys for Tots. An especially popular gift donation opportunity during the holiday season, Toys for Tots allows people to give Christmas presents to children who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Both Toys for Tots and One Warm Coat offer great ways to give back locally, but there are also great options to give back through gift donations internationally as well. Some of the most popular and effective examples of such organizations are Christian Relief Fund and World Vision International. Both organizations feature online gift catalogues that offer a variety of different gift options to donate to children all over the world. They offer gifts anywhere from a teddy bear, to clothes, to even scholarships for school or a freshly drilled water well. These organizations offer fantastic ways to not only give back this holiday season, but also a way to help provide for a brighter future in the process!

                               

      1. Attend Local Charity Events:
      • If you’re one of the many people in the U.S. that are afraid of needles, and donating blood just really isn’t your thing, well you are still fortunate. There is a huge variety of ways to give back this holiday season without getting needles involved, and one great way is by participating in and attending local charity events, like charity marathons, holiday festivals, charity auctions, or many others options. The holiday season is an easy time of the year to find local public charity events like marathons or festivals, these events offering a fun and active way to get involved with the community and show your support. So if you’re looking for ways to give back with your family or loved ones while spreading holiday cheer, then just check your local event postings!

                      

      1. Give out Care-Packages to the Homeless:
      • One of the greatest barriers at times to overcome in order to give back during the holiday season can be the weather. If you live in an area that’s frequently hit by winter storms, then finding a blood drive or a festival to go to could prove difficult. If you are someone who finds themself in a similar situation, then perhaps one of the best, most direct ways to give back this season is by giving to those in need during holidays. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, last year the U.S. held over 215,000 unsheltered homeless people. These people are lacking in necessary resources, and the winter season can be the hardest time of the year for these people to live, with over 600 people in the U.S. dying of hyperthermia each year. So if you find yourself in a city that’s affected by winter storms, give back this season by helping out those in need, and pass out pre-made care packages. There is a lot of DIY information online about creating great care-packages for homeless people, but the idea is simple. Just put yourself in their shoes this holiday season, and consider what you would want if you found yourself in the same situation! 

                                                  

      1. Volunteer:
      • The holiday season can be an expensive one. With Christmas and New Years lining up, celebrations, traveling, and maybe even birthdays or anniversaries, it can be difficult to give back this holiday season by financial means. If you find yourself lacking in cash this season, like so many of us, simply give back with your time. Volunteering is a classic way to give back during the holiday season, and it only costs you in sweat and elbow grease. There are a variety of ways to volunteer during the holiday season, the classic way being to volunteer in a food kitchen. This is a great way to give back directly to those-in-need, and to work face-to-face with the community. Other great ways to volunteer during the holidays could include volunteering at nursing homes, hospitals, and animal shelters. There is no shortage of people and animals looking for some personal affection this holiday season. So give your wallet a break this season and give back with your heart!

                                               

      1. Plant a Tree:
      • As is becoming clear, there is a lot of different ways to give back this holiday season, but perhaps one of the most unique ways to give back is by simply planting a tree. The holiday season is a spectacular time of decoration and the ever classic, evergreen Christmas tree. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, between 25-30 million Christmas trees are sold every year. With this swing in the number of trees lost every year, coupled with the increase in holiday decorations waiting to be thrown out come January, there leads a lot to be desired for improving environmental health during the holiday season. This holiday season, give back by curbing this seasonal pollution, and plant a tree. Trees serve crucial roles within ecosystems large and small, and what better way to give back this holiday season, then by replacing your Christmas tree with another in your community or backyard. However, if you find yourself unable to plant a tree, or lacking in the time to do so, then give back by donating to organizations like Trees for the Future. Organizations like these work for environmental causes, and plant thousands of trees all around the world!

                       

       

      December 01, 2014

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      Giving Back › Our Mission ›


      What is #GIVINGTUESDAY?

       

      KUTOA is a proud supporter of #GivingTuesday, but what is this day all about, anyways?
       
      We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.
      It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.
       
      KUTOA is celebrating #GivingTuesday with 40% OFF site-wide!! Just use code GIVINGTUESDAY40 at checkout. 
       
      Learn more at www.givingtuesday.org

       

      GIVING BACK LOOKS GOOD ON YOU!

      If you follow us on social media or frequent our website, you have probably noticed our latest addition to KUTOA's mission based product line. Although they aren't edible and delicious, our original strap back hats also provide you the opportunity to support our mission! For every hat you buy, we feed 10 children in need. By wearing a KUTOA branded hat you are also helping us advertise and bring brand awareness, which is not only stylish, but also empowering. 

       

      Our hat design was inspired by our own personal style as well as the "weird" vibe in KUTOA's home city of Austin, Texas. As we further our mission, we will also continue to expand our product line. With each new development we will also look to our fans, customers and friends for inspiration and ideas. That means you! We are ALWAYS open to hearing your suggestions and requests. Share with us via social media or by emailing philip@kutoa.com.

       

      To purchase your hat today, just click here. As always, we appreciate your love and support! 

       

      *If you post a picture rocking our Kutoa branded hat on social media and tag us, you will be entered to WIN a free case of bars!!

       

       Giving back will look good on you!

       

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