MORTON GROVE, ILL. – All of the profits from the sale of Lifeway Foods, Inc.’s upcoming charity relief bottles of Plain Whole Milk Kefir will go toward Ukrainian humanitarian aid, with a commitment of up to $1 million, the company announced.
Lifeway chief executive officer Julie Smolyansky, a former refugee from Kyiv, Ukraine, said the company is “devoted and committed” to supporting humanitarian efforts and providing aid in response to the war in her native country. She said relatives of Lifeway employees have been directly impacted by the conflict.
“The courage of the Ukrainian people is an inspiration to us all and we are proud to support those impacted as long as necessary to help recover and restore wholeness,” Smolyansky said.
Prior to its latest announcement, the company previously led a number of fundraisers, including Chicago Chefs Cook for Ukraine presented by Lifeway, which raised $700,000 for World Central Kitchen. The company also stated it is working with the Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago, US-Ukraine logistics companies, local European Consulates and a variety of volunteer efforts in order to get vital donations to people in Ukraine.
Kefir was chosen as the product for the charity relief project because it is a staple in Ukraine, and is one of the company’s most popular items. The special packaging on the bottles incorporates the colors of the Ukrainian flag. The company anticipates the relief bottles will become available in June.
"We are grateful for our many retail and distribution partners for their enthusiastic response in bringing this special product to shelves across the United States and for their commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine," said Smolyansky.
The CEO said the company was founded with a mission to bring kefir, an ancient Slavic superfood, to the US. She said the company gave her family the chance “to participate in the American dream, fulfill entrepreneurial aspirations and pursue basic human freedoms.”
Lifeway produces kefir, a probiotic, fermented beverage, as well as cheese, probiotic oat milk, and a ProBugs line for children. Its dairy products are sold throughout the US, Mexico, Ireland, France and the United Kingdom.