When Mary’s son was diagnosed with a developmental disorder, she had a hard time finding the right training for him through the Department of Rehabilitation. The government training just seemed too standardized and incongruent with the unique learning styles of the individuals who were seeking rehab treatment. She decided to utilize her background in education and entrepreneurship to start a business that could be used as a platform for training people with developmental disabilities.
Mary created "Cobblestone Foods" by combining her love for her son with her passion for organic, healthy and top-quality foods. Inspired by recipes from her aunt, an organic farmer in Northern California, Mary began producing nutritious ready-made soups – perfect for those with health challenges such as diabetes and child obesity. She hired her son as a part-time employee to help cook, manage the farmers’ market, and help with bookkeeping. This not only gave her son real-life work experience but also helped him become a productive member of society.
Cutting back on her job as a teacher to develop Cobblestone Foods, Mary needed to seek out financing to help fund her endeavor. This loan of $5,000 from Kiva will be used to perform High Pressure Processing (HPP) testing to test the longevity of the product as well as to allow Mary to seek out non-GMO certification, giving customers assurance that no GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients were used to make her delicious soups. Both the HPP testing and GMO certification will positively affect the production and overall image of the company, therefore, increasing sales.
In the future, Mary wants to be able to train and employ more people with developmental disabilities. She hopes to provide them with training through personable lessons and interactions. One of her life mottos is “All boats float,” meaning that if we all help one another, everyone can succeed.
Interested in trying some of Mary’s delicious soups? Purchase online at: www.cobblestonesoups.com