With the New Year comes a fresh slate, and everyone scrambles to create resolutions that they’ll be able to stick to. There’s no doubt the same changes are crossing everyone’s mind: eating healthier, giving back to their community, and the idea of general wellness are on the top of many people’s lists.

Enter The Soulfull Project, a company created by a small group of friends with one goal: to make a difference in their local community. I was able to catch up with Chip Heim and Megan Shea, two of the company’s founders, to get the inside scoop on their products and all that they stand for. 

What is Soulfull?

coffee, beer
Photo courtesy of The Soulfull Project

The Soulfull Project’s product line consists of four flavors of hot breakfast cereal: Cinnamon Spice, Blueberry Almond, Brown Sugar Pecan, and Tart Cherry. Each of these hot cereal cups include nutritious, clean ingredients packed with health benefits, from quinoa and whole grains to chia seeds and flax. Even better, they’re all certified GMO-free.

My personal favorite is Cinnamon Spice, although all of the options are extremely flavorful and are now one of my favorite ways to start my morning.

But what’s amazing about The Soulfull Project isn’t just the fact that their products are packed with flavor and nutrients. It’s that they’re dedicated to making a difference. In fact, for each cup of hot cereal you purchase The Soulfull Project donates a cup to a local food shelter in the Philadelphia or Camden areas.

How The Soulfull Project Came to Be  

Photo courtesy of The Soulfull Project

When I met up with Chip and Megan, we discussed how The Soulfull Project got started in the first place. Once pledging to make a change after witnessing poverty and hunger on a trip to Texas, life and work got in the way and their ideas fell by the wayside. However, after meeting with some families in Camden, NJ a year later, they realized they were getting a second chance to make a difference. 

During our interview, Chip discussed their experience in Texas and said that a comparable experience in Camden really jumpstarted the idea.

“Before you know it, it’s a year later and when we had a similar situation with the family in Camden. It just kind of clicked together and we said, ‘You know what? This time it’s not going to pass us by. And we’re going to make a difference.’ And so that’s when we got involved in it and then decided that this was the right time to make a difference.”

Megan also noted that, “It really became a personal promise for all of us, that we wanted to really do something meaningful to help people that were struggling.”

The Giving Model

Chip and Megan stressed the importance of a giving model and the idea of donating a physical product rather than money because they believe that “what’s important when it comes to giving is tangibility and knowing that the idea of what you’re giving is a good quality product.”

They went on to explain that they wanted to level the playing field and ensure that high-quality products were making their way into food shelters. They believe that this will motivate consumers to purchase The Soulfull Project because not only are they buying nutritious food for themselves, but they’re helping those in need as well. 

They also noted that when it comes to donating and giving back, everybody comes from a different financial situation. But, since everyone should be eating breakfast daily, purchasing a Soulfull Project product will allow them to do something good for themselves and for the community.

What does the business side of "The Giving Model" look like?

I asked Chip and Megan how they are still able to run an efficient business while following their giving model, and they noted that a huge part of it has to do with sourcing ingredients through partners that meet their nutrition standards. 

And, since they're technically a division of Campbell's, they're able to leverage a lot of the company's buying power to keep their costs low, which allows them to keep the quality of their ingredients high. 

The other way that they're able to function through a giving model has to do with their budget. They spend a lot of what would traditionally be allocated to a marketing budget on the actual donation aspect of their products, so it's important for them to get the word out in other ways.

For example, what a company would normally spend on a TV ad instead goes to the giving, so they rely heavily on social media to promote their product line. For this reason, it's important that people join the project's effort and spread the word.

The Soulfull Project is currently available at Wegmans in the Philadelphia and Camden areas, and items purchased are donated to Philabundance, the Food Bank of South Jersey, and the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

The company plans to expand to the remaining Wegmans locations in early 2017, but in the meantime you can ship their hot cereal anywhere in the US through The Soulfull Project’s website.

To get more involved, you can follow The Soulfull Project here on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This post was sponsored by The Soulfull Project, a proud partner of Spoon University.