Do you ever wonder where the spark comes from? When you meet someone who is truly making a difference in the world in their very own unique way? Where did the path start? How did the journey get them to this place and how many hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of lives have they made better along the way?
When you meet that person, a little bit of their influence sticks with you. You feel inspired to be a better person, maybe even support their cause. You want to be part of the movement.
That’s exactly how I felt after meeting Lauren Bush Lauren. Softspoken, gracious, and steadfastly committed to changing the world, this stylish young professional mom is changing the lives of children all over the globe through her company FEED. FEED is committed to fighting hunger by providing meals, and if fueled by distinctively on-trend bags and accessories that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. FEED believes that when a child is given a free, nutritious school lunch, it can break the cycle of poverty he/she was born into and empower them to change their own life.
During the keynote at the Women of Distinction Luncheon for the Girl Scouts of North East Texas, Lauren presented images of a child’s brain while he was malnourished, next to an image of it after having been well nourished – and there was an audible gasp in the room. The gaping lines in the photo represented a dramatic example of how malnutrition effects extend beyond stunted physical growth, but also cognitive growth.
We literally hung on her every word as Lauren showed photos of her travels to South America, trips that had awoken her calling to make a difference. Heart wrenching images of tiny children in her arms that were a fraction of the size they should, spoke more than Lauren she ever could.
What she did with her welling compassion was remarkable. With a love for fashion, (yes, she is that Lauren, the designer and model, niece to W, and married to Ralph Lauren’s son David) and a heart for service, Lauren launched the FEED project in 2007 and has since provided more than 95 million meals through products and fundraising programs. Her distinctive line of bags boast a humble brag on each with a giant number that correlates to the number of meals the purchase of each bag has provided. And yes, there are accessories, jewelry and t-shirts to choose from as well. (Shop here.)
At the conclusion of the luncheon, I had the privilege of stealing a few minutes with Lauren in the media room. Still taking in the enormity of what she had done and how vastly different her life is than mine, I was feeling a loss as to what to even ask her. I drew upon our only common connection – that she was once a Girl Scout, and me as a Girl Scout leader, and my subsequent influence over my Brownie troop and their commitment to make a small impact on feeding the hungry in our local area through Love Pacs and Birthday Party in a Box. While I spewed nervous talking through the exchange, I left feeling that I never articulated well that my hope that one day, one of my sweet girl scouts may change the world in a way that Lauren has, and that maybe their service at age 8 might lay the foundation for a lifetime of giving back.
Rather than fan girl all over Lauren, I asked her if she might let me shoot a short video message from her to the girls in my troop, to help inspire them on their own journeys. She graciously agreed and they have something really special as a result. Here it is below.
Thank you Lauren for following your calling, for being so approachable, for your continued commitment to feeding the young people in the world and for taking a small piece of your day to reach out to the next generation of women of influence.
I love that Girl Scouts provides strong role models for women and girls of all ages. Thank you GSNETX for the opportunity to attend this special luncheon and meet this remarkable change-maker!