INTERVIEW: The scoop on Kristen Bell's life-saving project
Don’t you just love it when you find out one of your favorite celebs is super-nice in real life? We do… which is why we were so pumped to hear about how our October GirlCrush, Kristen Bell, paired up with her buddy Ryan Devlin to create This Bar Saves Lives. The big-hearted besties fill us in on their benevolent endeavor.
How This Bar Saves Lives came to be
Kristen Bell and Ryan Devlin go way back — to the actress' Veronica Mars days, during which they became friends and bonded over their mutual Michigan upbringings. The two also shared a passion for humanitarian issues. "I've always been impressed with how she uses her celebrity influence to amplify positive messages," explains Devlin, "so it was a no-brainer to bring her the idea for This Bar Saves Lives and see if she wanted to join."
The friends agree that the timing for their collaboration couldn't have been more perfect. According to Bell, she was "pregnant and having so much food on the brain" that she couldn't stop "pondering the idea of hunger in general in this country and in other countries." Devlin confirms Bell's preoccupation with food — albeit in that totally flattering way friends do — saying, "She takes nutrition very seriously, and she was pregnant with Lincoln at the time, so her mind was squarely on child issues too."
Devlin says the notion for This Bar Saves Lives was "just a tiny little itch of an idea" when he bounced it by Bell over lunch one afternoon. He started by telling her about a life-saving packet of food called Plumpy'Nut they'd give away with purchase of their bars.
Her response, laughs Devlin, went a little something like this: "I know what Plumpy'Nut is, dillweed. I watch Anderson Cooper. That stuff is incredible! How are we going to get it to more kids?" Encouraged by Bell's enthusiasm, Devlin pitched a one-for-one: an all-natural nutrition bar that, when purchased, would pay for a packet of Plumpy'Nut to be sent to a malnourished child. And, thus, their benevolent business was born.
How Bell plays a part in the project
When it comes to This Bar Saves Lives, Bell isn't what you'd call a silent partner. As a matter of fact, she (admittedly) can't stop talking about the company — nor does she want to. "The before-and-after picture is really what dropped my jaw the most when I was working on this project," she says. "It's seeing that little baby be so, so skinny and then seeing him be so fat and beautiful. It's alarming."
As for Devlin, he couldn't be more impressed with Bell's commitment to the project. As the brand ambassador, as they've dubbed her, Bell takes her role very seriously. "She gets her hands dirty, and we love that about her," Devlin asserts. "She knows the business front-to-back and is involved in pretty much every major decision we make." Her passion and support, he says, have impacted This Bar Saves Lives in a huge way.
Learn more about This Bar Saves lives and get involved. Click here!
How you can get involved
In a mere three months, Devlin, Bell and their team have sold over 25,000 of their bars — which means that 25,000 life-saving packets of food have been shipped to kids who desperately need them. "It takes roughly about 150 nutritional packets to take a baby from bones and skin to a fat, gorgeous, healthy, plump little football," enthuses Bell. If you do the math, that means This Bar Saves Lives has delivered exactly what the brand's name promises: to save lives… over 150 to date.
The bars can currently be found in several grocery chains in California, but Devlin and Bell are working hard to get the word out to national chains as well. "We're starting a mission," states Devlin, "and we're building a community to help us achieve the goal of ending childhood malnutrition."
To that effect, there are a number of ways to get involved. From simply ordering bars online to becoming a Campus Activist to helping get them into your local coffee shop, the options are detailed on the company's website.
As for Devlin and Bell, the longtime pals hope to see This Bar Saves Lives continue to grow and prosper — much like the children they are helping to save — with their close-as-kin friendship still intact. "Working with Kristen has been awesome," Devlin iterates, joking, "She's definitely more than just a pretty face. And please don't tell her that I said her face is pretty, because then things might get weird. She's like a sister to me." (Sorry, Devlin… your secret isn't safe with us!)