Whhen I was growing up, my mother Jacqueline would often invite people less fortunate home for dinner. She showed them the utmost kindness without any judgment about their situations. In her eyes, everyone deserved a meal and conversation despite their situation. As a child, I didn’t always get what it was all about, but as I got older, I learned to respect and understand why she did it.  My mother always said, “Your blessing can bless others. You always have to reach out and do for others.”

My mother passed away 11 years ago, but I try to carry on her philanthropic legacy through my volunteer work at the Union Rescue Mission. The long-standing organization on Skid Row in Los Angeles serves homeless men, women, children and families by providing a comprehensive array of emergency and long-term services, including food; shelter; clothing; medical and dental care; recovery programs, transitional housing; legal assistance; education; counseling; and job training. The Mission has been in continuous operation since 1891, when it was nothing more than a “gospel wagon” that traveled throughout the streets helping the poor. Today, the Union Rescue Mission serves approximately 70,000 meals a year.

In 2009, I noticed there was an opportunity for Herbalife Nutrition to make an even greater impact at the Mission and to the people they serve.  At the time, the meals being served were full of empty calories, meaning the food lacked essential nutrients and vitamins.  Seeing the need for nutritious food, Herbalife Nutrition quickly forged a partnership with the Mission, and our employee volunteers started bringing protein shakes and blenders in the mornings to provide people with a good, nutritious foundation to their day.

Today, Herbalife Nutrition provides protein shakes at the Mission every morning and donates snack bars, toiletries, and food and gifts for special events and holidays.  As in years past, this November, Herbalife Nutrition executives teamed up with the Mission for its 126th annual Thanksgiving celebration where 6,000 Thanksgiving meals were served, in addition to Herbalife Nutrition shakes.

The Mission has also improved its offerings by bringing in a nutrition specialist who helps determine the menus so the meals are more substantial and nutrient-dense.

Though our partnership with the Union Rescue Mission, we’re humbled by the opportunity to provide quality nutrition to those who need it most .