Photograph courtesy of Sophie's Kitchen
East Bay resident Miles Woodruff, CEO of the pioneering vegan-seafood brand Sophie's Kitchen
, has just donated 3,000 cases of plant-based Toona to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County as well as several other Bay Area food shelters.
Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, the company's brand-new Lemon Grass Toona flavor has not yet arrived in grocery stores — but 100 percent of it is now being provided to people in need.
“The best way to get through hardship is to be of service to others. I was feeling overwhelmed by the impact the pandemic was having and wanted to help where I could," explained Woodruff, whose strong commitment to animal welfare has included working with the Jane Goodall Institute and as a field research assistant in the Republic of Congo.
"I specifically wanted to donate to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano because I live in Benicia and work out of Pleasant Hill," said Woodruff, who attended Acalanes High School in Lafayette.
"Alameda County Community Food Bank had all of the donations they could handle when I reached out to them, so I spread our donation of 35,000 cans of plant-based Toona to The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, and Second Harvest of Silicon Valley."
Founded in 2011, Sebastopol-based Sophie's Kitchen produces plant-based alternatives to crabmeat, shrimp, tuna, and salmon.
Woodruff's Oakland connections run deep. At age nineteen, he worked for a startup located off Hegenberger Road. In 2000, he trained at the East Oakland Boxing Association and was an ESL volunteer tutor in its after-school reading program. In 2002, before attending culinary school, he volunteered as a cook for the free hot-lunch program at the St. Mary's Center.
"I still regularly meet with my friends on Friday evenings off of Lake Merritt," Woodruff said.
"The East Bay is my home and the Bay Area is my community, so I wanted to leverage the resources I had available to help where I could.”