Richard Proudfit - The Man Who Started It All

richard proudfitRichard Proudfit was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. After high school, Richard attended the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point majoring in engineering and business. He got his appointment to the academy by walking into the commandant’s office and refusing to leave until he was admitted, thus beginning his life- long habit of never taking ‘no’ for an answer. He completed his service in the Merchant Marine sailing around the world on cargo ships.

Like the entrepreneurs of folklore, Profit started his business in his garage. Over the next 20 years he grew his garage start-up into a multi-million dollar business with six plants across the United States.

In 1974, Proudfit went to Honduras as a volunteer following a devastating hurricane that hit the country. Profoundly affected by the starvation he saw among the children of that country, he made a conscious decision to commit his life and financial resources towards the enormous problem of world hunger.

Utilizing his knowledge in manufacturing and distribution, Mr. Proudfit tapped his colleagues in the corporate world for help. He enlisted the resources of leading food scientists at Cargill, Pillsbury, General Mills, and Archer Daniels Midland to find a viable solution to feed the world’s starving children. After several failed attempts, Mr. Proudfit developed a highly nutritious meal - rich in protein and fortified with vitamins and minerals - that, when boiled with water, provides nourishment for starving children.

Proudfit did not stop at packaging the food and then sending it off with hopes it would find its way to those he calls “the poorest of the poor”. Instead, he traveled to dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America to find the missionaries, non-government organizations, and relief groups that had the integrity and savvy to get the Kids Against Hunger food to where it was needed. They were able to get the food out of the port, across near impassable roads, past corrupt government officials, and into the mouths of those who are most often overlooked and ignored in their societies. His tireless relationship building resulted in a world-wide network of organizations that can successfully distribute the food under the worst conditions. Today, many other humanitarian organizations adopt Poudfit’s hunger food formulation and food packing distribution model to help feed millions of hungry kids around the world.

Proudfit passed away in November 2018 but his legacy lives on and his commitment to end world hunger remains the goal of Kids Against Hunger.