Five Questions With Navyn Salem

Navyn Salem | CEO, Edesia Inc.

1. On March 15, Edesia launched a new corporate-giving program that would see company logos emblazoned on Edesia boxes and employee volunteers help assemble packages. What was the catalyst? As word has spread about our mission to treat and prevent malnutrition in young children around the world, many business leaders have inquired about how they can contribute. Companies increasingly realize the value of team-building, especially in a setting [such as] Edesia. … We knew we needed to expand the opportunity.

2. Hasbro Inc. was the pilot partner, but how much additional interest have you had from other companies since the launch? We have an ever-growing list of organizations interested in pitching in. We don’t know of any other opportunities that can offer this unique experience for employees.

3. What are the benefits for local companies? Team-building activities, where employees can roll up their sleeves to advance a cause [such as] treatment for childhood malnutrition, make everyone feel good. Volunteering in our state-of-the-art factory is an opportunity to be in a unique manufacturing setting, have fun with colleagues and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Publicity for our partners is certainly another benefit and highlights [their] commitment to giving back.

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We now have opportunities to pack boxes of ready-to-use food that can be delivered to places in need as close by as local food banks and as far away as Somalia. Demonstrating a philanthropic spirit to employees, customers and the community at large is priceless.

4. How did Edesia come up with the suggested figures – a $10,000 donation and 20 volunteers from the participating company – for involvement in the new program? With $10,000, we can donate enough therapeutic food to save the lives of 200 children suffering from severe, acute malnutrition. This can transform lives in a community where there is drought, famine, conflict or all three crises at once.

5. Will this new program help Edesia access areas of the globe fighting hunger it has yet to reach? Where and how many children will be impacted by the new program? There are so many communities around the world that desperately need specialized foods such as Plumpy’Nut, and larger donations allow us to respond to these requests quickly. … We just initiated our first-ever shipment to Venezuela and [in April] received an urgent request for Libya.