Jameel and Luvina in uniform

Extending the bonds of a military family to the broader Texas community

Jameel and Luvina Sabree spent a combined 28 years serving in the military before becoming small business owners.

After their daughter, Arabia, was diagnosed with eczema in 1999, Luvina’s nursing experience told her she needed to be thoughtful about which foods to serve her daughter; and to avoid worsening the condition, the Sabrees moved to a predominately organic diet. Years later, when Jameel and Luvina transitioned from military to civilian life, they started So Natural Catering – a small business that is focused on extending healthy food options from their home to their community.

It took hard work and a good amount of learning on their feet to build the business; but thanks to their military backgrounds, Jameel and Luvina have a strong work ethic and don’t shy away from a challenge. PeopleFund – a Bank of America partner and local community development financial institution (CDFI) – helped guide the newly minted entrepreneurs as they laid the groundwork for their company, So Natural Catering.

Jameel and Luvina cooking

With resources from Bank of America’s Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program, PeopleFund provided the couple with access to capital, training opportunities and introductions to an entrepreneurial network of other local chefs and restaurateurs.

Said Gary Linder, President and CEO of PeopleFund and United States Air Force Colonel (Ret.), “Like many vets we talk to, the Sabrees had the discipline — that ‘get it done’ work ethic — that people learn in the military. Luvina and Jameel came to us to build their business. What they needed was capital and the training that would help them take So Natural to the next level.”

“Each year, tens of thousands of veterans make the transition from military life to civilian life,” said Michael J. Winter, ESG Executive at Bank of America. “Many get a job or go to school, but several thousand elect to pursue entrepreneurship. And for those veterans, connecting to affordable capital is a critical step in their growth. That’s why we started our Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program with our CDFI partners to help connect them to the resources they need to succeed.”

Now in its sixth year, So Natural Catering provides the Sabree’s Harker Heights, Texas, community with healthy and organic food options, serving customers across the state.

Originally published 10/28/19