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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Cook Time: 30-45 min.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Save a Life by Donating Blood:
2. Donate Money to Organizations and Charities:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!