TikTok helps Casual Campfire Co. feed South Dakota kids – Argus Leader

Ben Forred saw a need after reading that one out of six South Dakotan children are at risk of going hungry. So, he took action. That included starting a business, Casual Campfire Supply Co, and a TikTok account.
Half of all profits that Casual Campfire Supply Co. gains go toward Feeding South Dakota’s “Backpack Program.” The program “provides at-risk children with nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods during the weekends and holidays when school is not in session,” according to the organization’s website.
The program receives partial funding from the Sioux Empire United Way organization, and a single food package costs $4.50. Feeding South Dakota states it costs $150 to feed a child for the entire school year. The program distributes more than 3,200 packages of food each week to children in the Sioux Falls School District. It’s estimated more than 5,000 children are enrolled in the program. 
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“The thing that I tell people is that when school starts up, you’re going to start seeing groups of kids standing on the corners, waiting for the bus,” Forred said. “… Statistically, (every sixth kid) leaves school on Friday and lunch, and they’re not going to eat again until Monday at breakfast at school.”
The Casual Campfire Supply Co. sells yard games, fire accessories, drinkware and clothing.
One of those items includes a fire puck, which Forred brainstormed after having sawdust from building a deck. A fire puck is molded like a hockey puck and is filled with sawdust, wood chips, shavings and organic soy wax and used for starting campfires. It’s a safer alternative than other methods like lighter fluid, Forred said. 
On his TikTok account, Forred has garnered more than 398,000 likes and more than 9,400 followers. 
“I’ve made a couple of videos that have taken off in a way that I didn’t expect,” Forred said.
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With the company, Forred estimated he’s made sales in 36 or 37 states through the company’s website or through his Etsy shop, where he’s made more than 120 sales. 
“I try to post (on TikTok) three to four videos a day and it’s a broad mix of things,” Forred said. “… It grew pretty slowly, and eventually I just started to (be myself) … I was like, I’ll just be more authentic and talk about who I am, talking about what I’m doing and then I’ll just throw in some random stuff, too, so my TikTok page is a pretty healthy blend of stuff about my business.” 


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