For years, William Cabaniss has done what he can to help support his local food bank to help provide meals to people in need. Now, at only 14 years old, he’s taken that support to a whole new level by starting a non-profit organization.
William loves to bake, and especially likes to add vanilla extract to his dishes because it makes them just a little more delicious. One day, while making brownies, he came up with an idea to make his own vanilla extract to sell and help raise money for people facing food insecurity. From there, Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow was born.
William did a lot of research to help him come up with a recipe for his vanilla extract, which he makes out of “premium Madagascar vanilla beans.” From there, he says everything kind of snowballed.
He told a local news outlet, “I designed a website to sell [the] product, I designed labels to put on bottles, I researched recipes, how to make labels, how to make websites, how to ship and how I should ship it. Bit by bit it all just came together.”
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Each 8-ounce bottle of homemade vanilla extract sells for $30. It may seem like a steep price, but each bottle provides 42 meals to people in his community of eastern Tennessee. People don’t seem to be too bothered by the price tag, though, because William has raised more than $9,000 and shipped orders to customers in more than a dozen states across the country.
In addition to the vanilla extract, William gives people the option of simply donating a flat amount to his nonprofit. With each amount, he also lists how many meals the money will provide: 30 meals for $10, 75 meals for $25, and all the way up to 750 meals for $250.
While COVID-19 has increased the number of people experiencing food insecurity in his community, William says it also gave him the opportunity to start this nonprofit that will continue to provide for people long after the virus is contained.
You can purchase a bottle of the vanilla extract or make a donation on the Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow webpage. You can also help William’s mission by sharing his story with your friends and family.
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