A Snack Bar Has Saved Over 17,000 Lives, And Troian Bellisario Is Here To Tell Us How

"If there's something that you can do in your everyday life... but you know that you're creating a positive impact, it's a no-brainer."

For Troian Bellisario, helping one snack company save thousands of lives was a no-brainer.

Earlier this month in New York City, I sat with Bellisario in a room overlooking Central Park to speak about her work with This Bar Saves Lives (TBSL). TBSL is a food company on a mission to help save the lives of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM). It's a condition that affects over 17 million children worldwide, UNICEF reports, and in 2013, only 17 percent of those children accessed treatment. 

Moreover, it's claiming the lives of 2.6 million children per year, or one child every 12 seconds, TBSL points out on its website. But with the right resources, it's preventable. 

That said, Ryan Devlin, Todd Grinnell, and Ravi Patel decided to create TBSL "because it just made sense," Grinnell says in a YouTube video. The team also traveled to Africa on a humanitarian trip, where they witnessed firsthand the upsetting effects of SAM. "If we could create a delicious, healthy snack and at the same time, give a child who's starving a live-saving packet of food, then why not?"

When Devlin told Bellisario and her husband, Patrick Adams, about the company and its goals, they decided to help too.

"I've been involved for a long time and we're really, really proud of the work they're doing so far," Bellisario says, adding that they've already sold 2.5 million bars, saving over 17,000 lives.   

How does this happen?

Each time someone buys a bar, TBSL's partner organization, Edesia produces one packet of nutrient-packed food aid. Then, TBSL's Giving Partners — Edesia, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children, Second Mile Haiti, Meds & Food For Kids, and Ananse Village — distribute the product where needed. 

Now, TBSL has announced that they've partnered with Feeding America to make a strong local impact, considering hunger affects 1 in 8 people in America. Through Labor Day, bars sold will provide a meal to a local food bank.

"Because whether they're in South Sudan or Los Angeles, everyone deserves to have the proper food and nutrition they need to thrive," TBSL writes on its blog.

Photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives

Another added benefit is that the granola bars from TBSL are actually really delicious, Bellisario says. They're gluten-free, sourced with 100 percent non-GMO ingredients, ethically sourced, and have other nutritional benefits. 

When it comes to making a positive difference in the world, Bellisario recognizes that sometimes, it takes a lot of time and resources, and not everybody's lifestyle is conducive to that. 

But "if there's something that you can do in your everyday life... but you know that you're creating a positive impact, it's a no-brainer," she says. 

Check out more from my interview with Bellisario in the video above, as well as our conversation regarding her new feature film, Feed, below. 

Cover photo courtesy of This Bar Saves Lives


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