Entrepreneurs and sisters Arvelisha Woods and India Pernell are using their newfound earnings for a greater cause.

Woods and Pernell are the co-founders of Kansas City, MO-based venture Mattie’s Foods, which was inspired by the hours of cooking in the kitchen with their grandmother, Mattie, their company website mentions. 

These types of moments with family sowed seeds of creativity and empathy, motivating Woods and Pernell to extend their passion for cooking to uplift their communities.

“We would often enter her kitchen to find limited supplies in the fridge and pantry, yet Mattie’s magic would transform those ingredients into nourishing, flavorful meals. Her ingenuity and loving heart instilled in us a powerful lesson: by the grace of God we can create abundance from little to touch people’s lives,” a statement on the company website read.

It continued, “Driven by love and gratitude, we opened Mattie’s Foods with a mission to pay homage to the remarkable woman who had shaped our lives. Our hope is that it carries forward the spirit of her resourcefulness, love, and generosity.”

Mattie’s Foods is a cafe and food truck that serves vegan comfort food for lunch and breakfast, including street tacos, buffalo mac, French toast, and breakfast quesadillas. It also offers smoothies and desserts.

Beyond providing meals to Kansas City locals, the founders are looking to scale their impact through food education, Startland News reports. This will be made possible in light of a $30,000 grant the sisters won during the second annual “We Are Black Pitch Competition” led by Kansas City G.I.F.T.

Kansas City G.I.F.T. (Generating Income For Tomorrow) is a small-business accelerator that provides grants, marketing services, free business resources, and education to business owners in the city’s historically redlined neighborhoods, according to the company website.

With the new funds, Woods and Pernell plan to establish a community garden to address the food deserts in the city.

This will be particularly relevant given that a 2021 study conducted by Feeding America revealed Kansas City’s food insecurity rate in 2020 was 14.1% overall and 20.7% for children. The 2021 projected rate for the city had been 13.1% and 18.6% for children. One in every six Kansans and one in every four Kansas children are food insecure.

Through their gardening project, Woods and Pernell seek to create a sustainable solution to food insecurity by offering community members education on becoming self-sufficient in food production.

“We grew up on 57th and College, and there was no store like that, so to have something in the city where people can go and pick produce and learn how to garden and grow their own food, that’s our ultimate vision,” Woods told Startland News.