There’s a red, industrial looking building right next to a cemetery just off Highway 254. That’s home to Numana.
Many are not sure what it does and when asked around town, many did not even know it was there. As Numana celebrates their 10-year anniversary, that has not stopped them from helping anyone and everyone.
"This is our opportunity to step up," Numana Inc. Executive Director Ashley Burns said.
With the COVID-19 pandemic griping the nation, Numana has stepped up to the plate, not only internationally but locally.
The company provides meals for people who are in need. Whether it be a single mom wondering how they’re going to put food on their table as schools have closed (yes schools are providing lunches). Numana has stepped up. They prep food packages and ship them all around the world, not just in El Dorado. However, during this time, the focus has turned to supporting their own.
A Wildcat by birth, Burns has seen it to be her mission to help her El Dorado family out. She wanted to make an impact throughout the community and sees Numana as that way. Last year, Numana did three million meals around the world, with 90 percent of them internationally and 10 percent are back home.
"We’ve been keeping our eyes and ears open for where we are needed most," Burns said. "We really want to be growing within El Dorado and the surrounding communities."
The Meals are simple. There’s a recipe sheet to follow, the meals are nutrition "based," meaning they can be prepared or eaten as is. They also they pair with other foods that can be acquired at food banks. They come with a large zip-lock bag-sized white grain rice, freeze dried pinto beans and a dehydrated soy, that is almost granola-like. The local meals also come with freeze-dried vegetables, while international meals come with a vitamin packet.
"It’s basically Chipotle without the meat and fresh vegetables," Burns said.
While they are not a faith-based organization, Numana was founded through faith. Numana refers to the biblical term "mana." It is referenced as the food the Israelites were instructed to consume while they wondered the desert during their 40-year exodus.
It was not always their name. They did not have a name originally. However, after the founding owners went to Haiti to help out, they returned home, and Haiti was struck with the devastating earthquake. Numana meals were the first to be airdropped into the country to help feed those affected by the earthquake. Burns said as God provided for the Israelites, Numana tries to provide for others who are in need.
That’s where Numana has stepped up locally.
What made them switch gears is now they have an opportunity to take care of their community. They have provided meals to the area, nearly 100,000 to the south-central Kansas. While they are looking to venture into Sedgwick County more as the pandemic grows, their focus remains on Butler County and El Dorado.
"We have been brainstorming the best and most efficient way to be intentional and respecting those who need our help," burns said.
A small staff of five at their office on Boyer Road, just south of 254, haven taken extra precautions with the pandemic. They bleached their kitchen and they are sanitizing daily, observing many of the same health food regulations that your favorite restaurant would adhere to.
"We’ve always been trying to find that local need and we’ve never been needed at a high capacity before," Burns said. "We are now and we’re going to provide meals when they are needed."
Numana is trying to show support for our local businesses in El Dorado. They are offering to anyone who donates a $65 box of 216 meals, they will receive a gift card to one of those local businesses.
Numana has made deliveries or made have accommodated the local citizens to provide easy pick up, from a mom picking up on the picnic table just outside of the home office to delivering meals to a couple quarantined.
"We want to be considerate and manageable," Burns said. "It’s about the community and how we can help them."
As of Friday, March 27, Numana has hand delivered a total of 5,328 meal to families in Butler County.
"We anticipate that number to grow exponentially next week as we continue to reach out to local partner food pantries who can distribute our meals," Burns said.