[Image Source: Matter.ngo]
Most of us believe that all people fundamentally deserve access to healthy food and quality healthcare. MATTER a nonprofit organization based in Minnesota, not only believes these things, but is putting its money where its mouth is with its initiatives to “expand access to health, next door and around the world.”
MATTER was founded in 2000 by business owners Megan and Dennis Doyle, who wanted to find innovative ways to promote their goals of providing restorative aid and healthy food to underserved people in the U.S. and abroad. Seeing that corporations created massive amounts of waste, they created a pathway to funnel that surplus to people in need, first with their initiative Hope for the City, and then in a bigger way with MATTER. The jump in capacity that they’ve made in the last 15 years has allowed them to partner with a variety of effective agencies and organizations, from corporations to law enforcement, food distributors to hospitals, and from both within governments and outside.
One of the ways MATTER is, well, mattering, is by creating healthy food opportunities for people living in food deserts in the U.S. Food deserts, generally low-income urban areas with limited access to fresh, healthy food, are a major cause of obesity and diabetes, conditions that majorly impact both lifespan and quality of life. The MATTER box seeks to counter these conditions by providing a box of healthy food to people in need, along with education to help people make the best (and best tasting!) choices going forward.
The Hospital in a Box project, another MATTER initiative, works with healthcare systems, governments and NGOs to source and distribute the safe arrival of medical supplies and equipment to hard to reach communities, especially internationally. Farm in a Box does the same thing with farming equipment and supplies, helping small-scale farmers in developing countries to increase their profitability, therefore boosting the local economy. The MATTER Innovation Hub provides access to education for both children and adults.
In Naivasha, Kenya, an area near Mount Kenya in Africa, MATTER is partnering with local purple tea growers [link to doing good page], health and farming organizations, combining their initiatives to help benefit the people of the region, who suffer from a higher-than-normal rate of kidney disease. Kabaki [link], a new Kenyan Purple tea company, and their parent organization GRA are working with purple tea farmers to build a dialysis clinic that will expand to become a hospital to treat people with this debilitating disease. MATTER will also be working with local farmers in the area to create sustainable fair-trade tea farms, as well as access to education for the tea growers and their families.
From helping kids learn how to love exercising and eating right to providing life-saving medical supplies, MATTER is making good on their goals of bringing health and access to health to the masses. Keep an eye on the organization to learn about what they will do next, and get involved!