Outside of their regular jobs, Kevin Van Klaveren and his wife originally wanted to start their own non-profit for fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters. They encountered challenges in the building stages. Along the way, his wife and her friend turned to the idea of reusable straws. Instead of starting their own non-profit, they switch to the straws as a steppingstone in their mission to help others. Straws for Heroes has been a two-year journey with creating this philanthropy project and officially launched September 2019.
In this age, people are looking to replace plastic straws for environmental purposes. There’s paper, metal, and bamboo. Kevin’s wife and her friend thought of bedazzling the straws with rhinestones to make them stand out. Straws for Heroes’ products are made from glass stones, porcelain, and aluminum with a silicone tip. The value of a $24.99 straw shows off the fanciness of the stones along with a velvet case and cleaning brush—it’s FDA approved.
Partnering with Non-Profits
Straws for Heroes has partnered with different non-profits and donates 15% of each purchase to charity, supporting numerous causes like breast cancer, fallen police officers, firefighters, and soldiers. Organizations they donated to are Yellow Fund, Police Unity Tour Challenge Ride – Chapter VII, and UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center.
Different color straws represent something specific ranging from ones for service-orientated communities and fighting a disease. Blue Line for police officers. Green Valor for the military. Pink Hope for breast cancer. The Red Courage straw is for fallen firefighters and its proceeds goes towards Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firefighter’s Fund.
“These non-profits are close to us. I lost my aunt to breast cancer. My wife’s brother is a wounded warrior. We have friends who are firefighters. It makes sense for us to give back beyond ourselves,” Kevin said.
During a night-out, his wife pulled out the straw at the bar and a random woman struck a conversation with the couple. It turned out the woman happens to be gamer, Cynthia Marie, from the television series, “Vampire: The Masquerade: LA by Night.” The rhinestones resonated with Marie who told them the next straw should help to fight against domestic violence.
After their small talk with Cynthia, Straws for Heroes partnered up with the gamer to create and promote the Baroness straw and it will be donated to the non-profit, Futures Without Violence. As a relatively new project, the couple is still learning how to manage Straws for Heroes and focusing on the current partnerships before diving into another straw.
The “bougie” appeal of the straw catches someone’s eye which leads to a meaningful message of being eco-friendly while helping one in need.
“It’s a conversation when you are with someone or out somewhere. It creates an opportunity. If you have a red courage, there’s a story behind why they picked it.”
To purchase the Red Courage straw visit Straws for Heroes.
By Katherine Abando