We had the good fortune of connecting with Kai Suematsu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kai, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind my success and the success of Kobu as a whole has been its support system. We would not be where we are today without the help of so many volunteers. Each week we have volunteers come out and help us with our deliveries to low-income and senior households across Boulder County. That means at least 4-5 people are volunteering 1-2 hours on their Fridays to ensure families get their food each week.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Kobu is a student-led non-profit organization that strives to inspire impactful actions across the community through our Meal Delivery Program and Angel Rose Youngdog Scholarship.
Prior to the start of the pandemic, our project was dedicated to serving food insecure families through quarterly food drives and volunteering with various hunger relief organizations. Once the pandemic swept our community, it was clear that there was a new need to deliver groceries to those vulnerable to the virus, either due to losing their job, lack of transportation, or simply those that could not risk getting sick. At this point, my friend, Samariddin Meliboev and I began reaching out to various hunger relief organizations across Boulder and Denver to begin a delivery system for these members of our community. Since March 2020, we have been delivering meals across Colorado with numerous volunteers and hunger relief organizations, but have now focused our efforts in Boulder County.
This process was not easy. COVID-19 presented very real and scary challenges for families in our community. Early on, our team was faced with many decisions regarding individuals’ access to food, their health, and their safety. While many of these decisions were difficult, beginning in the midst of a global crisis set the foundation for our team’s ability to problem-solve. I am so proud of everyone that dedicated and continue to dedicate their time to serve others.
Thanks to our team and all of our volunteers, Kobu has now delivered over 185,000 meals and donated over $15,000 through our Angel Rose Youngdog Scholarship.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If one of my close friends were visiting for the week I would take them on a variation of the following experiences:
– Aviano Coffee
– French Press
– Kike’s Red Tacos
– Little Man Ice Cream
– Olive & Finch
– Sushi Den
– Any Game (Avalanche, Broncos, Nuggets, Rockies)
– Denver Botanic Gardens
– Lookout Mountain
– McGreggor Square
– Meow Wolf
– Red Rocks
– Rocky Mountain National Park
– Stanley Marketplace
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Our volunteers: Sydney Kheng, Kari Colón-Quiñones, Saul Flores, Aldo Hernandez, Rocky Li, Emma Vazquez, Aiden Phan
Our committee: Samariddin Meliboev, Wesley Youngdog Shepherd, Kathy Aguilar, Lili Arredondo, Ahmed Moutwakil