To help with meals during the COVID-19 crisis, Bella Lam and her company, Coconut Whisk shared free pancake and waffle mix. Her community came alongside her to help.
Bella Lam is the Founder and CEO of Coconut Whisk, a vegan and gluten-free baking mix company. With every sale, Coconut Whisk donates a vegan meal to a kid in need.
In March of 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic struck. Children were sent home from school. Bella grew up depending on school meals. She realized that many school children would go without. She and her staff decided to donate a waffle and pancake mix to families in need. When word got out, members of their online community stepped up to give. As a result, fifty families received the help that was desperately needed.
One mother wrote:
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing waffle mix and stepping forward to help people like me. I am a single mom of five who is already struggling to find things on store shelves. I truly appreciate it with all of my heart. The kiddos loved them too!
The Story of Coconut Whisk
In the Spring of 2018, Bella was a senior at Mankato State University. She had been vegan and gluten-free for two years. She was excited to be invited to a family member’s wedding. “This person teased me about being vegan,” she told me. “When I found out his wedding reception was not vegan-friendly, it really hurt. I couldn’t even eat the dessert. It was humiliating and frustrating.”
Also, as an avid baker, Bella struggled with finding baking kits that fit her dietary choices. “It sparked a fire in me,” she says. “I wanted to show people that living vegan is healthier, better-for-you, and easy! I wanted it to be normalized and accessible. I didn’t want anyone else to feel the type of disappointment that I did.”
With that mission, Bella decided to start a vegan and gluten-free baking mix company that also gives back. “I wanted our brand to be as approachable and welcoming as possible, no matter who you are.”
She entered a campus business pitch competition. They ended up winning the Food Division.
“From that moment on, we’ve seen tremendous growth and support. We are in over 20 retail stores. We’re donated over 500 meals. We have a thriving online presence and a loyal customer base. Launching Coconut Whisk has been my greatest adventure. We’re excited to keep growing and to become a household name!”
Bella says, “The lesson I want others to learn from my story is to take heart-centered action. I didn’t start a company to prove anyone wrong. I started it because I felt that there was a need, and I wanted to provide a solution. It’s so important to make sure that your ‘why’ is clear. I didn’t have the business background, but I was passionate about proving a solution. That was my north star. I focused my energy on doing good and being the best person that I could me. I challenged myself, and I acted. When you take the first step, everything else starts to fall in place.”