By Teresa Johnson
For The Diamondback

The leader of a new start-up spoke Thursday to a group of University of Maryland business students about the importance of community giving.

Megan Shea, one of four co-founders of The Soulfull Project, which focuses on providing nutritious food to food banks, spoke to a group of students from Net Impact and the Supply Chain Management Society. Students learned about the company's background and ways in which they can get involved.

"The undergraduate and graduate students are the ones making the change," Shea said. "It's giving everyone the chance to create a positive impact for themselves and for their community with just one purchase."

Prior to starting Soulfull, the company's founders were working for Campbell Soup Company when they came up with the idea. Campbell is also the sole investor in The Soulfull Project and is continuing to help the company grow to have a broader reach.

Soulfull produces breakfast cereal, which is available in 64 Wegmans locations, including in Lanham, Maryland.  With every purchase, the company donates a serving of cereal to a food bank located in the designated store's area. For purchases made in the Lanham store, the company will donate the food to Capital Area Food Bank, located in Washington.

"For us, the University of Maryland is so important because we're partnering with the foodbanks in D.C. and Baltimore." Shea said.

The company chose to produce and provide breakfast cereal because many people struggle with this meal when starting their day, Shea said. More specifically, the company wanted to create a product that had nutritional value with no artificial ingredients and low sugar, but still convenient to eat.

After the presentation, several students discussed how the company inspired them, as well as the important takeaways about community giving through business.

"I didn't think you could make such a big impact," said Sarah Khan, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences. "She was a part of a small group in a big company — and she was able to take a leap of faith, and she was successful."

Another student, Matt Brutzman, a sophomore informations systems and supply chain management major, said he was inspired by the combination of business and philanthropy.

"I thought this was a really cool idea," Brutzman said. "I think it's always important to help the community and understand especially where you work and who the people around you are. It's definitely something I want to keep in mind if I ever start my own business."