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Boise's Happy Day Brands Donates 100,000 Oatmeal Servings to the Hungry

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It takes something more than the average mind to look at a paper cup of oatmeal and think, "This just might change the world." But for Happy Day Brands co-founders Mark and Jeanette Priddy, that kind of big-picture inspiration marks just another day at the office. That's why the Priddys look at Happy Day's donation of 100,000 servings of its nutritionally dense, superfood oatmeal to the Idaho Foodbank as not a singular achievement but a step down a long-trodden road.

"The central mission has always been about doing good," Jeanette said roughly week after delivering the first installment of their oatmeal donation to the Foodbank's School Pantry Program. "Whether that's through social justice causes, whether that's through helping out women through job training, or right now what our big focus is on is hunger relief here locally in Idaho. Even though we've done a lot of things, the central thing has always been about, how do we create good with our gifts that we have to offer?'"

SEAN SEVERUD
  • Sean Severud

Happy Day Brands, a certified B Corporation selling ethically sourced coffee, tea, chocolate and oatmeal—and giving away a meal to aid hunger relief for each item sold—is the latest in the Priddys' string of business ventures. Its roots are in both Mark's work as founder and CEO of Richardson Labs, a nutritional supplement development company, and in Rembrandt's Coffee House, a coffee shop in Eagle that the couple once owned, and where they debuted the coffee and chocolate they would eventually sell through Happy Day.

"Rembrandts was where we first cut our teeth on social entrepreneurship because Rembrandts was a for-profit, but when we created Rembrandts the purpose of [it] really was about, how do we create community, a sense of belonging, welcoming a stranger?" Mark said.

In that vein, the Priddys refer to Happy Day as "a socially conscious company." It's focuses on hunger relief, but also trains women with barriers to employment, who the Priddys give a leg up through their nonprofit, Full Circle Exchange.

COURTESY LIFE WITH SYDNEY
  • Courtesy Life with Sydney

"Our fun tagline is, 'We're sharing the happy,'" Janelle said. "The whole purpose of [Happy Day's] name is that we equate doing good and being happy, because you are the most happy when you're doing good. There are so many studies, and science actually confirms that when we are contributing to our communities and our society, we are the most happy."

By that logic, there was plenty of happiness to go around on Oct. 25, when the Priddys and their partners from Albertsons and Jacksons appeared at the Idaho Foodbank to help unpack the first truckload of donated oatmeal, which will be delivered in 9,000-serving installments over the next year.

"We had a great time at the first Happy Day Brands delivery—the team is incredibly driven to make a difference in the lives of others and always bring with them such a positive energy that everyone wants to be a part of," said Whitney Slade, who works in public relations and government affairs for the Idaho Foodbank. "Not only was everyone excited to be part of providing healthy food to families, but they were also efficient—repacking more than 2,000 servings of oatmeal in less than an hour. We are very thankful to have their partnership as we strive to serve the one in eight Idahoans, including one in six of our kids, with the food they need to live healthy, active lives."

Mark Priddy (left) speaks to a crowd of oatmeal packing volunteers. - COURTESY LIFE WITH SYDNEY
  • Courtesy Life with Sydney
  • Mark Priddy (left) speaks to a crowd of oatmeal packing volunteers.

The Priddys described their superfood oatmeal as a serendipitously perfect fit for the Foodbank's School Pantry Program—which offers food not just for students, but entire families in need—because donations of nutritious breakfast items to the Foodbank are relatively rare. Slade said the School Pantry Program often relies on "pasta and sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, and proteins like peanut butter and beans," and the addition of oatmeal packed with Idaho-grown grains will be "ideal." In total, the donated oatmeal will go to almost 40 pantries across Idaho, serving roughly 1,500 families each month. That pushed the Priddys to offer a massive donation, even though they haven't yet sold an equivalent number of products through Happy Day Brands.

"When you do the math, basically you need 100,000 servings. So we were like, 'Okay, that's what we're going to do,'" Mark said.

The goal of selling 100,000 items is ambitious, but the Priddy's are confident that Boise consumers—who can buy their coffee, tea, chocolate and oatmeal online at happydaybrands.com, or at spots around town like Albertsons, Jacksons, Guru Donuts, Black Rock Coffee, Hyde Perk and the Boise Co-op—will make it happen.

"Our big why—why do we do it—is because we really have a deep heart for people and we want to see people flourish," Mark said.