About Us

Our Story of Hope

Hope Gel® is a grassroots organization and social cause created
to fight severe acute malnutrition in children.

 

The Hope Gel story begins with Jeffrey Miller, M.D. Dr. Miller, a urologist based in Boca Raton, Florida, dedicates a significant amount of time traveling annually to Haiti providing urological surgeries, procedures and general healthcare to countless Haitians. Along with his wife, Rachel, and daughters Alison and Amanda, Jeff has witnessed the devastating effects that severe acute malnutrition has on the people of Haiti, particularly on children.

In January 2010, while performing prostate surgery during one of his visits to Haiti, Dr. Miller experienced the devastating earthquake that hit the small Caribbean island. He was overwhelmed by the tragedy and despair that affected tens of thousands of Haitians.

Around the same time the earthquake decimated Haiti, South Florida-based start-up nutrition company EB Performance, co-founded by Dr. Nathan Feldman, D.C. and Mr. Daniel Schapiro, began marketing its first product to consumers: a natural, organic peanut butter protein bar. Nate and Dan saw a picture of Dr. Miller in the Boca Raton Community Hospital newsletter (now Boca Raton Regional Hospital), handing out peanut butter bars to hungry Haitian children. They were touched and inspired to help. They reached out to Jeff’s office and a meeting was scheduled.

The meeting, to say the least, went very well and soon boxes of the organic peanut butter protein bars were on their way to help numerous Haitian children through Jeff’s contacts at the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation. Also during the meeting, the group discussed a riveting special that Dan and Nate saw on 60-Minutes, a special that highlighted the positive and profound impact of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) and an urgent request from Doctors Without Borders for the production of more.

The conversations of that meeting created the foundation from which would evolve today’s Hope Gel®.

The 60-Minutes special and the need for more RUTFs became the driving force to quickly and efficiently produce a new RUTF for distribution to Haiti. Renowned food scientist, Stephen Rittmanic, was instrumental in Hope Gel’s developmental stages.

The initial Hope Gel RUTF was formulated and has evolved through different formulations with each progression striving to provide the highest nutritional value, efficacy, and the most cost-effective formulation.

Working tirelessly, Dan, Nate, Jeff and Alison Miller loaded Hope Gels, case by case (150 Hope Gels per case), into a small van which was driven to an air transport carrier destined for Haiti. The gels were delivered to contacts Jeff had made during his earlier trips to Haiti and then driven to the town of Milot in northern Haiti where they were delivered to an orphanage and a hospital, Hôpital Sacré Coeur.

At the hospital, the distribution of Hope Gels is under the direction of Sister Ann Crowley. Sister Ann serves as the Director of Nutrition and also as the spiritual leader providing comfort, compassion and love to the Haitian families who have been impacted by pain, suffering and malnutrition.

Although tens of thousands of Hope Gels were being distributed, an essential component that was missing to truly have a larger impact was a significant distribution network that could reach Haitians throughout all of Haiti who were/are in desperate need of nourishment.

In February of 2016, the founders of Hope Gel were contacted by South Florida-based Food For The Poor, one of the largest non-profit, charitable organizations in the United States. Somehow, executives at Food For The Poor had gotten a hold of one Hope Gel nutrition packet which led them to contacting Hope Gel to set up a meeting to discuss ways to work together in the fight against childhood malnutrition. Food For The Poor has an extensive distribution network in place reaching a total of 17 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Since that meeting, Food For The Poor and Hope Gel have partnered to distribute pallets of Hope Gels (nearly 7,000 Hope Gels per pallet) throughout Food For The Poor’s distribution centers in Haiti and Guatemala. Through this partnership, Hope Gels will reach thousands of starving children in the many countries within the current distribution outreach – and eventually countless more throughout the world.

Hope Gel® has come a long way since loading the first case of Hope Gels into a van but there is so much more work to be done and children to reach and feed.

Through a steadfast, determined, collaborative effort, the founders of Hope Gel® along with family, friends and a host of compassionate organizations and individuals have provided the foundation for Hope Gel to become a recognizable and comforting brand and social cause that symbolizes vital, life-saving nutrition, compassion, help and Hope! Please join us in any way that you can whether through encouraging words, increasing awareness through social media and/or donations. And, always remember – Hope is a good thing!