It’s great to have a bite to eat; but when it is “Food With a Purpose,” it tastes even better.

Carrie Whitten-Simmons, and the team at UMOM, crafted that tagline and the idea to relate every purchase at the new UMOM Helpings Café straight back to the  services it supports. Ideas like that, together with a robust media network and years of marketing and branding experience, made for a wildly successful grand opening of the Helpings Café at UMOM Day Center, Arizona’s largest family homeless shelter.

Contributing to the successful launch of Helpings Café is just one of Carrie’s many adventures. She and her family travel the world filming a television show designed to help other families “Travel With Kids.” In yet another, earlier career, Carrie gained a world of experience and extensive contacts as a newspaper advertising executive.

Carrie’s marketing and media expertise freed up UMOM’s development team to focus on other aspects of launching this vital social enterprise and provided outside perspective and justification for the effort to blend a workforce training program with a self-sustaining café and market for the community.

Located in a ‘food desert’ – a neighborhood where fresh food is hard to find – the Helpings Café accepts SNAP benefits and certainly offers great food to eat, but there’s more to its mission than that. Every day UMOM clients receive hands-on job training, helping them gain new skills as baristas and in food service.

Carrie has now moved on to spear-head marketing efforts at The Be Kind People Project, another Experience Matters engagement.

“Service as a family is what I grew up with and what I am now trying to pass along to my children. Experience Matters opened the door for me to support UMOM in the creation of this fantastic program that will help so many homeless individuals get back on their feet. For that I’m so thankful.”

– Carrie Whitten-Simmons