British Columbia

Kraft to ship 12 cases of Star Wars mac and cheese to B.C. family with autistic child

How the story of six-year-old Everett Botwright inspired a nationwide hunt for limited-edition pasta.

How the story of 6-year-old Everett Botwright inspired a nationwide hunt for limited-edition pasta

Reed Botwright's post of this photo of his son with the family's last box of Star Wars Kraft Dinner on Sunday created an internet sensation that caught the attention of Star Trek's William Shatner and the vice-president of Kraft Heinz. (Reed Botwright/Facebook)

When Nanaimo, B.C., dad Reed Botwright took to social media to track down limited-edition Star Wars mac and cheese, he didn't expect his plea to go viral. 

Botwright's six-year-old son Everett is autistic and very selective about what he eats. Over the past three years he's been paring down his food options, causing his parents concern.

But Everett loves Kraft's Star Wars mac and cheese — a traditional Kraft Dinner variant that features Yoda on the box and pasta shaped like the iconic characters. 

The product was only sold for a limited time, to coincide with the release of 2015's The Force Awakens. When Everett's family was down to its last box, Reed posted a photo of his son with his treasured pasta.

"Here is Everett holding the last box we could find in Nanaimo!" he said on the Facebook post. "This is where we need your help. Do you know where we can find more? We're desperate! See it in a store? Tell us, and we'll go there! Have some left over? Send it to us, we'll pay!" 

The post spread like wildfire  — prompting Canadians from coast to coast to check their pantries and local grocery stores for the product and tweet their findings to Everett's dad.

On Tuesday, Star Trek actor William Shatner got involved, taking to his Twitter account to ask Kraft if they could send the family more of the product. 

Kraft hears the story

Av Maharaj, Kraft Heinz vice-president of corporate and legal affairs, said the company caught wind of the story on social media and immediately began looking into what they could do. 

"A lot of people have had experience with children on the autism spectrum, and we know many of those children have challenges finding foods that they enjoy," he said.

"Most of the time children find a food that is readily available. This was a limited-time-only product, so it was a very unique situation."

While the product is no longer being made, the company managed to track down 12 cases — that's 144 boxes — sitting in an American warehouse. Maharaj said they'll be shipping the product to the Botwright family for free.

Maharaj said they'll also be sending along several other varieties of Kraft Dinner.

"It's our hope that if Everett sees them alongside his favourite kind, he'll be more open to trying them," he said.