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KIND Announces KIND HEROES to support Mental Health

Although the coronavirus crusade continues, humanity has somehow managed to achieve some semblance of normalcy. The strength we exhibit during difficult times should be no surprise, there’s no match for our togetherness.

Much of this strength can be owed to those who work on the frontlines, day in and day out, risking their lives to ensure our health and safety. Commendably, we’ve done well expressing our thanks to essential works through billboards, commercials and community initiatives. One area that has received less consideration though, is the impact frontline work has had on their mental health. Imagine having to do your job in an atmosphere of uncertainty for months on end, all while being expected to maintain a semblance of strength.  

To help bring more awareness and support to the mental health crisis frontline workers face, KIND is launching a multi-faceted project named KIND HEROES. A recent study by JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) found that over 50% of physicians working on the frontlines felt depressed. With no clear end in sight to the pandemic, and without sufficient support, continual trauma is likely.

The KIND HEROES initiative will donate 100% of proceeds to NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. They plan to pledge a minimum donation of $25,000, matched by an additional $25,000 from The KIND Foundation that supports mental health programs for our true American heroes such as healthcare workers, first responders, military service members and veterans.

KIND HEROES was inspired by a survey conducted by The KIND Foundation’s Frontline Impact Project, a platform which directs donated resources to workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 and other natural disasters. Results revealed an increase in mental health challenges for essential workers, following PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), mental health resources were cited as the most important need.

You can show your support for our American heroes on October 6th, when the KIND HEROES bar releases online and at select retail stores.

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KIND Promotes Gender Equality for International Women’s Day

Photo provided by Bridgit Kasperski for Kind Healthy Snacks

KIND, known for their healthy snack bars, has announced a new initiative named KIND EQUALITY. The initiative was created to support the passing of The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which guarantees equal rights for all American citizens regardless of gender.

Originally proposed by National Women’s Party founder Alice Paul in 1923, near ratification of ERA was subsequently stopped cold 50 years later, ironically enough, by a woman named Phyllis Schlafly, leader of the Stop-ERA Campaign. That basically means it took 50 years for women to almost convince state legislatures to pass the bill before a woman-led campaign successfully prevented it. This excerpt from details some of the absurd arguments used to shepherd state legislatures away:

“Protective laws like sexual assault and alimony would be swept away. The tendency for the mother to receive child custody in a divorce case would be eliminated. The all-male military draft would become immediately unconstitutional. Those opposed to the ERA even suggested that single-sex restrooms would be banished by future courts.”

Another surprising tidbit is that America is one of the only modern countries that doesn’t constitutionally guarantee equal gender rights. Public polls report a staggering 80% of Americans falsely believing otherwise. Fortunately, an opportunity to successfully pass ERA has presented itself in the form of Virginia’s recent decision to become the 38th state to ratify the amendment. Originally stopped at 35, the past few years have shown a tide change. It takes 38 states for amendment ratification, after which it must traverse the hurdles of Congress and the Republican-controlled Senate. 

To raise awareness for the passing of ERA, KIND has announced the EQUALITY Bot, a quick and easy service for supporters to text elected state officials. A simple text of “Pass the ERA” to 50409 will automatically sign KIND’s petition, which will be sent directly to your state officials. If you’re then so kind as to share proof of signing to Twitter and tag @kindsnacks during March, KIND will donate $1 to the Alice Paul Institute.

Photo provided by Bridgit Kasperski for Kind Healthy Snacks

Additionally, the brand has created a limited-edition caramel almond & sea salt snack called KIND® EQUALITY bar that supports and promotes gender equality. With a minimum donation of $10,000, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Alice Paul Institute (API), a non-profit whose mission is to advance gender equality. The proceeds will assist with educating the public about ERA as well as leadership development for teen girls. Elle Lanning, Chief of Staff at KIND, offers further insight into the new initiative’s purpose:

“KIND has always used our voice to elevate kindness and empathy. In this case, our team, which is comprised mostly of women, is proud to support the ratification of the ERA. Through this program, our hope is to help solidify gender equality as a basic human right in this country, once and for all.”

KIND EQUALITY is part of KIND Snack & Give Back Project, a multi-year program to inspire kindness and empathy. The program features special edition bars, each created to support communities that “haven’t received their fair share of kindness.

If you’re looking to join the push towards making gender equality a constitutional right, you can purchase the KIND® EQUALITY bar exclusively on during the month of March.


This Installation Shows You Exactly How Much Synthetic Dye Kids Consume Yearly

Not all fruit snacks are created equal. Some use real fruit, others use artificial dye. But, only one sells well. This was the issue KIND Healthy Snacks faced with their fruit snacks. Made entirely of real dried fruit, their snacks weren’t selling as well as their neon colored counterparts. So KIND crunched the numbers – and not the ones you expect.

According to the company, because of the lack of regulations on food dyes and their resulting prevalence in “healthy” sounding foods like fruit snacks, American children collectively consume 2,000 gallons of artificial dyes per year. Last week, to put this amount in perspective in real life, KIND revealed a pubic installation in NYC’s Herald Square that displays all 2,000 gallons in full.

This installation consists of eight test tubes in a giant test tube rack, each containing one of the eight, brightly colored food dyes approved for use in the US, as well as foods they are found in that wouldn’t typically be expected.

This is only the latest battle in KIND’s war against unnatural food. Artificial dyes have long been a villain to KIND, a company who prides itself on staying away from the substances, as well as many other common additives that are deemed unnatural.

But the question is, what’s the concern? If these dyes have been approved by the FDA, why should we be worried about consuming them?

The answer, unlike fruit snacks, is grey. 

It’s been theorized since the mid-70’s that additives like food dyes are linked to hyperactivity in children, when Kaiser Permanente’s chief allergist, Ben Feingold, wrote about it in his book Why Your Child is Hyperactive. Since then, countless studies have been done, but the results have historically been hard to solidify. The nature of these studies, unfortunately, have presented issues with internal validity due to dosage size, relying on parents to record results that are difficult for the scientifically untrained eye to catch, and the possibility that some children may be affected by something else in the food they were fed. So, while most studies did indeed link dyes to hyperactivity, skeptics still felt justified.

Recently, evidence has mounted. As methods of study have become more trusted, and agreeing studies continue to accumulate, so too do their conclusions. In a 2016 report, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reviewed multiple studies and meta-analyses and concluded that, while not going so far as to cause ADHD, food dyes have a definite effect on many children and that, with such an overwhelming amount of studies concluding the same thing, the FDA should take action.

This will be a hard sell. Unlike the European Food Safety Authority, where food dyes are banned in favor of natural colorings, the FDA is a reactionary agency. Foods in America are tested for safety by the companies who sell them, the FDA only checks these tests. They only step in and conduct their own tests when they feel it’s necessary. So, it’s entirely possible for unhealthy additives to slip through the cracks if their adverse effects are not immediately distinguishable.

This means that the FDA is unlikely to make a change unless there is a documented demand for it. Right now, brands as big as Kraft and Kellogg’s have pledged to remove artificial dye from some of their products after public complaints. The hope is that, eventually, the government won’t be far behind if notoriously stubborn corporations are already making the move. 

Until then, it will be up to the consumer to demand natural additives in their food. And, if it’s already been proven that natural colorings can be used on a large scale and artificial dyes have have no nutritional value, then the question isn’t whether we should demand this, but now, why wouldn’t we?