Who would have thought buying a pack of gum could help save the earth, supply clean water to people in need, or provide schooling to children in Africa?
Social entrepreneur Tyler Merrick thought it was possible, so in 2008 he founded Project 7 — a company that dedicates itself to making “Products for Good,” including sugar-free gum and mints, bottled spring water (the bottles are biodegradable), and coffee. Each product is linked to one of seven causes and by purchasing one of these products consumers can donate money to any one of these seven areas of need:
Heal the Sick products provide medicine to people suffering from Malaria.
Save the Earth products plant fruit trees around the world.
House the Homeless products cover shelter, food, education, and healthcare costs for orphans.
Feed the Hungry products provide meals to those without food in American communities.
Clean the Water products provide clean water to those who need it.
Teach them Well products support school costs for children in Africa.
Hope for Peace products support counseling for children of war.
Project 7 products can only be found in retail stores such as Walmart, Target, and Seven Eleven all over the Midwest and along the East Coast — though they can also be found in parts of California, Nevada, and other Western states.
Project 7 Gum was featured as Mother Earth Living’s Product of the Week back in March of 2009. The gum (pictured above) comes in three flavors that correspond to three different causes: the freshmint flavor plants trees, the peppermint-vanilla flavor feeds the hungry, and the mango mint flavor houses the homeless. The company’s website mentions another flavor, wintergreen, which appears to donate money to schools in Africa — however I haven’t come across it in stores yet. Further, the packaging for the gum is made of 10% post-consumer recycled material and the company also sells t-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles in an effort to support the green movement.
Project 7 Mission Statement: “To ensure everyone around the globe has access to fundamental human needs for a healthy life.”
Project 7 donates half of its profits to charities and partners with nonprofit organizations to provide financial support and raise awareness for various causes. The nonprofits Project 7 works with include: a child’s right, Camfed, Children’s Hunger Fund, Feeding America, Invisible Children, Partners in Health, Pencils of Promise, Plant with Purpose, Restore International, Samaritan’s Purse, SOS Children’s Villages USA, Trees, Water, and People, and World Vision.
To date, Project 7 has:
Planted 3,440,655 fruit trees
Supplied 1,294,308 meals to American communities
Supported 147,850 days of schooling for children in Africa
Provided 32,072 days of shelter, food, school, and healthcare to orphans
Provided 40,301 people with a year supply of clean water
Supported 19,730 days of counseling for children of war
And funded 31,104 Malaria treatments
So if you’re looking to support a good cause but don’t really have the time, give Project 7 a try. By purchasing their everyday items (gum, mints, coffee, water bottles) you are supporting charitable efforts in “seven areas of need across the globe.”
Below is a video that summarizes Project 7’s mission and goals: