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Maria Guadalupe Meza: Helping Families with Low Incomes Put Food on the Table

Maria Guadalupe Meza: Helping Families with Low Incomes Put Food on the Table


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Maria Guadalupe Meza (“Lulu”), founder and CEO of Snappable. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Hi Lulu, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Snappable addressing?

Lulu: Thanks for having me, Spiffy. Snappable is on a mission to help families with low incomes put food on the table. Food stamps don’t fully cover a family’s meals, leaving 41 million Americans at risk of hunger. There are millions in government funding available to bridge this gap, but these additional benefits are hard to access, and up to 80% of this funding goes unused. Driven to build a better system, I founded Snappable! We make it easy for shoppers to use these benefits and profitable for grocery stores to accept them.

Spiffy: Amazing! What motivates you to do it?

Lulu: My parents both grew up with food insecurity. This is part of my family history—when people don't have enough food and kids are left with empty bellies while parents are stuck in survival mode. After helping to launch two initiatives in Colorado in the battle against hunger, I was compelled to use technology to create a solution that works to address hunger and food access across the United States. My goal is to ensure that everyone has abundant access to nutritious, good food regardless of income.

Spiffy: That’s really inspiring! What would you say is the impact of your work?

Lulu: Snappable helps people in the United States struggling with hunger. In addition to food stamp benefits, there are millions of dollars available for folks with low incomes to purchase food, but much of this money is left on the table. These benefits often come as paper coupons that are time-consuming and awkward for grocers to process. Snappable’s technology makes it easy and profitable for grocery stores to make an impact by giving families who use food stamps greater access to nutritious food.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone/initiative by you or your org. What impact does that make?

Lulu: Snappable recently graduated from Techstars, a global program for startups tackling the world’s biggest challenges. Techstars provided us with the resources to launch pilots in two states and got us ready to raise investment so that we can bring Snappable’s solution to the whole country. Each new grocery store that uses Snappable is one more step toward fulfilling our mission of helping families access the nutritious food they need to thrive.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

Lulu: During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and 2022, emergency food benefits helped 30 million people in need and lifted nearly one million children out of poverty. Those programs ended, but there are still millions in food benefits money left on the table each year. At Snappable, we are relentless in our quest to ensure that every person and family can easily access the food benefits. We understand that this problem is enormous and we're scrappy and nimble enough to make a difference quickly.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Lulu—it’s been an honor!

Snappable’s founder and CEO, Maria Guadalupe Meza (“Lulu”) makes things happen. She is a graduate of Columbia University and a PhD dropout, who previously helped found two food access enterprises—a farm and a food hub. Lulu is a young woman of color on a mission to enable food security via financial innovation. (First published on the Ladderworks website on March 8, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.