This Doll Making Business Has Provided Over 28 Million Meals for Hungry Children

(The above photo is a display of some of the beautifully hand-crafted dolls made by Cuddle + Kind. Photo Credit:  Cuddle + Kind Facebook.com)

Yes, you read that right, over 28 million meals have been given to hungry children. Cuddle+Kind is a company that sells hand-knit dolls with a social mission at its heart. For each doll purchased, the business donates ten meals to children in need through partnerships with various organizations.

It's a one-for-one model, but with a bit of a twist because it's not just about the product. This business works to make a positive social impact.

The dolls themselves are beautifully crafted and made from natural, high-quality materials. They come in a variety of designs, each with its own little backstory. That means it is more than just a toy. It’s a character that encourages bonding moments with kids. [1]

How Cuddle+Kind Got Its Start

Cuddle+Kind was founded in 2013 by Jennifer and Derek Woodgate. The couple was inspired to start the company after watching a documentary about childhood hunger.

They were moved by the startling statistics and felt compelled to make a difference. Their original goal was to raise $32,000 through crowdfunding to get the business off the ground. In less than 24 hours, they’d doubled that figure. Eventually, they’d generate almost $600,000 to get things started.

The campaign’s success made the Woodgates believe that change could be possible. [2]

Cuddle+Kind's mission is to provide meals to children in need. For every hand-knit doll they sell, they donate ten meals to kids around the world through various partnerships with charities. To hit their targets, they knew that some input from their kids would be necessary.

Jen and Derek would turn to their son, Ethan, to discuss designs and options. “All the dolls are Ethan-approved for cuddle-ability,” Jen said in a 2016 interview about Cuddle+Kind. “He was our official cuddle tester during the prototyping stage. He has six penguins now, which were all prototypes. He’d sleep with each one and tell us if they were soft enough or required less stuffing.” [3]

The above photos show the current versions of Everest the Penguin. Photo Credit: Cuddle + Kind Facebook Shop.

With that input, Cuddle+Kind launched with nine whimsical characters, including rabbits, deer, and cats. Each one receives a name, birthday, and personality.

“Chloe the Bunny was going to be neutral, but our daughter really loves pink and purple,” said Jen. “She also loves ballet class. So, now that character is a pink-on-pink ballerina with a double tutu.”

The above photos show Chloe the Bunny in both the large and little versions. Photo Credit: Cuddle + Kind Facebook Shop

A Commitment to Ethical Labor

What really stands out is Cuddle+Kind’s commitment to ethical labor. The dolls are hand-knitted by artisans in Peru, providing the local workers with a sustainable, fair-trade income. [4]

“We wanted the dolls to be handmade, so we researched knitters and came across Peru,” said Derek. “Now, we employ more than 100 women and provide a fair trade, sustainable wage. I was down there in January, and it was amazing to see their skills and passion.”

That makes it a win-win-win situation. Your order allows you to get or give a cool doll to love, you’re providing meals for another child to get fed, and supporting an employment opportunity.

In essence, Cuddle+Kind combines commerce and compassion in a way that makes you feel good about where your money is going.

Jen says that she likes the concept of having dolls provide meals because it allows children to be part of the solution. “It’s a good talking point,” she said. “We thought to start conversations with children about how to care for others in the world that there are small things one person can do.”

“Buying a doll is something simple, but it still helps other kids.”

What Is a One-for-One Business Model?

The business model that Cuddle+Kind uses is a strategy where the company promises a donation for each product sold. In this instance, one doll often equates to ten meals.

This methodology allows for philanthropic integration directly into business operations. For consumers, it adds an emotional incentive to buy. You're not just getting something for yourself because you're also contributing to a cause. [5]

In this instance, Cuddle+Kind addresses a direct need with their efforts. By purchasing one of their dolls, you’re becoming part of the solution to stop childhood hunger.

World Hunger Remains a Significant Problem to Solve

Over 150 million kids under the age of five are believed to be stunted or face other health challenges because they don’t have enough food to eat. That figure doesn’t count older children and teens who are also affected by malnutrition.

Political instability can make food inaccessible, but numerous factors contribute to this issue. Poverty is the most common cause. Initiatives like what Cuddle+Kind provides with each purchase are positive moves toward finding a long-term solution.

Orders for dolls can be placed at any time by visiting https://cuddleandkind.com/.



[1] https://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/articles/mcmaster-grad-launches-venture-to-help-feed-hungry-kids/[2] https://www.imlikebrave.com/meet-jessica-owner-of-cuddle-and-kind/[3] https://peppermintmag.com/toy-story/[4] https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/ethical-commerce-canadian-retailers-make-giving-back-part-of-bottom-line-1.3119849[5] https://borgenproject.org/cuddlekind-feeds-children/

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