Two months after the COVID-19 pandemic began to change daily life all over the country, the energy in Los Angeles was undeniably bleak. Restaurants, bars, and even California staples like beaches and hiking trails had been shuttered in an effort to keep residents safe. Millions of people were left fearing for their employment status, futures, health, and safety.
In the midst of all this uncertainty and in the wake of so much tragedy, finding a way to help seemed impossible for many people. But for Lauren Opatowski, an LA-based creative producer, the solution to help others was sitting in her pantry.
While working from home, Lauren noticed more and more people filling her social media feeds with their own attempts to learn something new. She tells Be Kind & Co., “We all seemed to become chefs, bakers, and gardeners when confined to our homes. I found my calling while working with nuts.”
She started experimenting with and creating her own macadamia nut milk and shared some of her batches with close friends. But when she transitioned into making nut butters from macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts and pecans, her friends insisted that she start sharing her product with the world. “One of my friends kept telling me I needed to sell it until one day I decided she might be right,” Lauren says.” That’s when she created the name Everything is Nuts Butter and now that logo sits brightly in a quirky vintage font on every jar she makes.
The idea of going public with her nut butter recipes was daunting for Lauren; aside from having no idea how to produce it in bulk while keeping her day job, she secretly worried that her friends were just being nice and that her product might not sell. However, these insecurities were far outweighed by the opportunity Lauren saw to do a little good in the midst of so much hardship.
“The government told us the best thing we could do was stay at home, which was true,” Lauren says. “But my heart was so heavy thinking of how many people didn’t have the stability of a home or meal to rely on. Being able to make a meaningful donation to help these families has eased some of the helplessness, and the amount of support I’ve received to make this happen has made me feel less alone in this time as well.”
She heard about how many families relied on schools for their children’s meals, and the hardship those families were facing in the pandemic. Lauren learned about an organization called No Kid Hungry, which works to tackle childhood hunger across America, and knew she had found her cause.
Lauren’s fears that her nut butters wouldn’t find a customer base were quickly dispelled as a few posts to her rarely-used Instagram page about her new calling resulted in a rush of orders. “I’ve been so overwhelmingly inspired by the response and how much support I’ve received. Everyone just showed up for the cause.” She says that getting to fill orders for her friends at a time that we’ve lost so much of our regular patterns of socialization has reminded her how connected we still are. “It ended up being this incredible way to reconnect with so many people in this time where we are all feeling really disconnected and isolated. It’s so easy to forget that you have a strong community, and I have nut butter to thank for that reminder.”
Lauren’s nut butters have traveled all over the country, finding their way to pantries as far as New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida, and these purchases have helped Lauren send over two thousand dollars directly to No Kid Hungry.
Currently, 100% of proceeds go to support No Kid Hungry.
“I will say though the most rewarding part has definitely been people’s reactions to the butter. It seems to make them happy, and that’s a win anytime but especially these days!”
To purchase a jar of Everything Is Nuts Butter and support No Kid Hungry, you can contact Lauren via her Instagram page.