Making A Difference

Consumers vote with their dollars


Making Ripples

The world isn’t run by nonprofits, for better or worse. That’s why voting with our dollars at businesses can be just as powerful as donating to charity — and sometimes, one action does both. Some businesses will donate a percentage of proceeds to charities that support the environment or people in need, whether we realize they do this or not. The more aware we become, and the more we collaborate with those from different walks of life, the easier it will be to solve the world’s problems.

One example is Tacos 4 Life, a 2018 Arkansas Business of the Year. Their “meal 4 meal” business model donates a meal for every meal purchased. “For every taco, rice bowl, quesadilla, salad or nachos you enjoy, $0.22 is donated to Feed My Starving Children,” their website explains. $0.22 is enough to provide one meal that is scientifically engineered to help reverse malnutrition. After being packed by volunteers, “the meals are shipped to over 70 countries and arrive at feeding centers, CarePoints, orphanages, schools and refugee camps.” Delicious menu options include the vegan seared tofu taco (house-marinated tofu, roasted poblano salsa, roasted corn, cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado, lime wedge), the crab cake (seared on the grill, lettuce, pico de gallo, green onion, Cajun remoulade sauce, lime wedge) and the fried chicken (buttermilk fried chicken, lettuce, chipotle aioli, drizzle of honey), to name a few diverse offerings.

Tacos are tasty, but the point isn’t to just eat more tacos. By being conscious of not just which nonprofits we support, but also which businesses, we can make a more holistic difference with our dollars. Regardless of which statistics one cites, it’s clear that children are starving to death every few seconds. In a world where hunger is preventable, Tacos 4 Life’s mission to end child hunger is even more urgent. Their website claims that over 10 million meals have been donated to kids in need since their founding in 2014.

There has been some concern regarding the religious affiliation of the nonprofit organization receiving these meal donations, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). They are a Christian organization, and some fear that they may be too evangelical, while others fear they may not be evangelical enough. The tug-of-war between these two camps is reflected in the organization’s website. According to FMSC, there is no religious requirement to receive a meal. “Our food is given to the neediest children, regardless of their faith or whether a Christian message is delivered.” When asked why they serve Muslim children with Halal-certified meals, and whether this compromised their Christian mission, they replied, “FMSC regards all people equally.” Halal certification “helps us achieve our mission: getting nutritious meals through to the children who need them most.” At the time of this writing, I could not locate any sources contradicting these claims.

Another criticism is that they are not feeding hungry children in Arkansas, but focus instead on children dying of starvation worldwide. Tacos 4 Life does have local food drives and makes donations to the Arkansas Food Bank, but FMSC hasn’t had success serving its meals in the United States. “Our meals were designed for the severe undernutrition that is more common in the developing world,” FMSC explains on its website. “Its taste and texture is not as well received in the U.S. When we get requests from domestic hunger programs, such as following a disaster, we send a sample box. This has not led to any large-scale requests.”

It can be hard to help “the other,” whether that’s a foreigner or someone from a different faith, but when we do, the results are delicious. Try out Tacos 4 Life or explore ways to support a business of your choosing that helps people and planet. Know a business that uses some of its daily profit for charitable work? E-mail me at for consideration in future Making Ripples columns!

Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at

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