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December 01, 2010

Industry with Heart

Eliminating Hunger in the World: USANA Partners with the Children’s Hunger Fund

by Ivy N. Carter

On the Front Line

Usana

Kevin Guest, Chief Marketing Officer of USANA, personally experiences the impact of USANA’s and CHF’s partnership. He has travelled to Romania, the Ukraine, El Salvador, Mexico and Los Angeles to volunteer his time to help families and children in impoverished communities. Through his works he has witnessed the impact USANA and CHF are having, and hears the stories people tell about the difference they witness daily. He has seen the change in the lives of children who were once dying from starvation and are now playing and growing.

“The impact is actually immeasurable when you are reuniting children with their families, when you are giving children a healthy start or restart to life as their bodies develop the nutrients needed to grow up healthy and strong,” Guest says.

Take a moment to imagine a world free of hunger, pain and sickness. A world where children don’t have to suffer because they aren’t receiving healthy meals or the medical treatment needed just to fight off a common cold. Just imagine the impact of seeing children smiling and playing, instead of crying and oftentimes dying from hunger. Can you see a world that free? Unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world, but there is one company trying to eliminate as much pain, sickness and hunger as possible in the world, especially among children. USANA’s continued sponsorship of the Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF), a Christian nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, Calif., is a longstanding relationship of commitment and dedication to eradicate the plague of under- and malnourished children in the United States and throughout the world. USANA’s founder, Dr. Myron Wentz, believes improving the lives of children is a high calling, and his collaborative efforts with the CHF has garnered the attention needed to help eliminate childhood hunger.

“It is estimated that 253 million children around the world are malnourished, and more than 6 million will die this year due to hunger-related causes,” Dr. Wentz says. “Improving the life of just one child can have lasting positive results.”
Eliminating pain and suffering in the world is Dr. Wentz’s mission in life. He continually makes contributions for ongoing medical research and development, constituting his greatest gift to those in need. And the Children’s Hunger Fund continues to be the perfect fit.

The Perfect Fit

The CHF began its works in 1991 to alleviate the suffering of children in impoverished regions across America and around the world. The CHF strives to improve the lives of less fortunate and poor children and their families holistically, by meeting their immediate physical needs as well as strengthening their emotional and spiritual needs. USANA’s partnership with CHF began in 2001, when Dr. Wentz reached a period in his personal and professional life when he wanted to give back beyond normal charitable contributions. Within months of the USANA and CHF partnership, Usanimals, a vitamin designed for children ages 13 months to 12 years, were given to every child in a Mexican orphanage. The relationship continues to flourish. CHF’s extensive network of  ministries on nearly every continent and their unique method of food distribution allow USANA’s donations to reach thousands of needy children and create a lasting impact.

“What makes the CHF most unique is the approach we take in trying to solve the reality of childhood hunger,” says Dave Phillips, President of Children’s Hunger Fund. “We’re not just an organization that provides food but rather we equip volunteers, churches and community leaders to use home delivery of food as the method to reach out and engage these children and families in a trusted relationship.”

Today, USANA and CHF have a dynamic partnership that affects the lives of families across the globe. Through product and cash donations, more than 15,000 children receive Usanimals every day, and more than 3,000 families receive regular food donations, restoring the hope of thousands of individual children.

Children's Hunger Fund

USANA associates after spending a day at CHF’s L.A. distribution center assembling food packages.

Mightier Than the Dollar

USANA’s employees have donated more than $11.1 million to the CHF and have no intention of decreasing their efforts, even in dismal economic conditions. USANA remains at the forefront of charitable initiatives by giving more than money. Associates and corporate employees graciously respond to the needs of the children and families sponsored by CHF, and often have team fundraisers.

“Our associates and employees give more than just sheer cash,” says Kevin Guest, USANA Chief Marketing Officer. “They give products and offer time through volunteering. We literally have children from all four corners of the world who are taking Usanimals.”

USANA’s volunteer efforts allow associates and employees to travel to countries all over the world, either paid by USANA or the individual, and serve in orphanages and communities. These dedicated volunteers assist with building structures, cooking meals, delivering medical treatments and fulfilling other needs of the children and their families in impoverished areas. Employees and associates are passionate about helping CHF and at a recent international conference gave emotional testimonies.

“Through USANA, we have made a difference in the lives of our friends and families through our participation in the company as associates,” says CS Ling, USANA associate and CHF contributor. “But participating in CHF allows us to make an even more significant contribution to the lives of others, whom we may never get the chance to meet, but we know that our product and money donations are changing their lives.”

Automatic Giving

At a time when individuals seem more concerned with how they will be able to take care of their families, USANA employees and associates remain committed to doing more for the CHF. “I believe that helping is an inherent necessity in the direct sales model,” says Guest, “And it is the core of our business model.” The newly hired associates and regular employees believe in and support USANA’s mission to eliminate pain, suffering and hunger in the world, especially for children.

“We feel like giving strengthens our leadership; it strengthens our salesforce; it strengthens our employees as they are engaged in a cause that’s much bigger than they could ever be engaged in by themselves,” Guest says.

USANA’s associates are able to give through the company’s autoship program, which allows employees to donate a portion of their products to CHF. Associates have the option of donating $10 a month to help supply basic nutrition for an entire family, $12 a month to sponsor a monthly supply of Usanimals to a malnourished child, or add any amount to their autoship. USANA corporate employees are able to give monthly donations through automatic payroll deductions, and associates can deduct donations from their commission checks.

“When our employees donate money through payroll or commission deductions or products via their autoship, they know that the money goes directly to helping a child in need,” Dr. Wentz says. “We encourage our employees to realize that there are millions of children in need of help and support, and if we just start with helping one child at a time, then we can decrease the suffering for these children.”

Building Better Lives 

In 2004, Dr. Wentz increased his charitable contributions after he traveled to several impoverished refugee camps in Northern Uganda. In one refugee campsite visit, he saw more than 33,000 children who were suffering from diseases and malnutrition. Dr. Wentz’s emotional trip to the refugee camp immediately jump started a new initiative with the CHF. USANA and CHF began sending food, building homes and planting various crops for the children and their families. In less than a year, the company began hearing reports of a 90 percent decline in malnutrition and a 60 percent reduction in camp population.

Dr. Wentz has personally funded several state-of-the-art Wentz Medical Centers—located in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa, and in Cambodia and the Ukraine—since 2005. The Wentz Medical Centers help children and families with disease prevention and diagnosis, particularly in areas in Africa, where HIV and AIDS have affected so many people’s lives. In each center, Dr. Wentz hand selects the diagnostic equipment and makes purchases for the laboratories. The first Wentz Medical Centre opened its doors in Gaba, Uganda, and treats more than 330,000 children and adults suffering from HIV and AIDS, or are orphans from the disease. Women and children also receive educational training and diagnostic care for malaria, HIV and intestinal viruses.

Giving Beyond a Percent

Usana

The Children’s Hunger Fund is continually recognized for its charitable contributions. The organization gives an average of 99 percent of its revenue to programs serving children in need. Forbes.com recognizes CHF yearly as one of the most cost- effective charities in the world.
The CHF and USANA partnership helps:

  • 15,601 children receive Usanimals every day
  • 3,404 families receive regular food donations
  • 330,000 families and children receive medical attention

Wentz’s passion does not stop in Uganda; over the past two years, two additional Wentz Medical Centers opened in Cambodia and Malawi. Children in Cambodia who are affected by diseases such as malaria and HIV receive state-of-the-art treatment, nutritional assistance and valuable health training to help them live productive and longer lives.

“Since Dr. Wentz opened those medical centers in the areas where malnourished children and their families reside, the quality of life for the children and the communities as a whole has increased,” says Guest. “The nutrition programs are instilled in the lives of thousands of children in Uganda and other places, because they are now receiving adequate medical attention.”

USANA and CHF continue to build and rebuild communities throughout the world and in the United States. The local charitable initiatives sponsored by USANA and CHF help thousands of families and children with supplies, such as nutritious foods, clothing, medicine and toys, at no cost. The goal of giving at no cost is to teach the children how to show generosity, compassion and care to other children and families in their communities.

Not Just International

USANA also helps families and children in its own backyard. The company sponsors Kennedy Junior High School in West Valley City, Utah, by providing financial support and one-on-one time with students and school programs. USANA’s employees actively fundraise and organize various programs, including a coat drive for students in need, student uniforms purchased for families in need, tutoring programs, and various sports tournaments to raise money for the students, faculty and families. Students visit the USANA corporate headquarters to display their artwork or put on musical performances. USANA also hosts an appreciation dinner for Kennedy’s teachers and staff each year.

Dr. Wentz is also passionate about music and music education, and in 2003, he began monetary contributions to performing arts programs at his undergraduate alma mater, North Central College, in Naperville, Ill. To date, Dr. Wentz has donated more than $10 million to the college and is the namesake of the newly constructed Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center.