A Fresh Veg Blog

Non-Profit Spotlight: Brighter Bites

March 2019

Mann Packing is proud to partner with Brighter Bites, an incredible organization that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to kids and their families who do not have regular access to fresh food. They also teach them how to use it and measure the results.

Brighter Bites and Mann Packing have been working together since 2015. We regularly donate produce to several Brighter Bites markets across the country, including weekly donations in both Austin and Dallas and occasionally the Houston and Washington, DC Metropolitan areas.

Mann’s donates thousands of pounds of produce to Brighter Bites each year. In Fall 2018, we donated over 25,000 pounds of fresh produce, and so far in 2019, Mann’s has donated over 33,000 pounds of produce.

Brighter Bites’ goal is to change behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. It is an elementary school, preschool, and summer camp program that gives families reliable access to fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and consistent exposure to recipes and messages that feature fresh food.

The program was co-founded by Lisa Helfman, who wondered what kind of influence regular access to fresh produce might have on children (after noticing the difference in her children), especially if it were free to families. She was inspired to serve underserved communities identified as food deserts.

Lisa’s vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools that also included an educational component. So she created a collaborative partnership with Dr. Shreela Sharma, Brighter Bites’ co-founder and an expert in nutrition and professor of epidemiology at University of Texas Health School of Public Health, and they launched Brighter Bites.

Brighter Bites sends kids home with 20-25 pounds of fresh produce per week, which includes 8 to 10 different varieties. The program also takes the time to educate communities on the benefits and uses of fresh produce through in-class curriculum as well as information and recipes in each student’s produce bags. The result: over 20 million pounds of produce has been incorporated into the lives of 265,000 individuals across more than 240 schools and summer camps since 2012!

For 80 years, Mann Packing has been committed to giving back – whether it’s by matching gifts made by employees, encouraging employees to volunteer or by supporting local and national causes important to staff. On both a local and national level, our priority is to support causes promoting health and well-being for underserved and low-income youth through nutrition and athletics. So, when Brighter Bites approached us about their impactful program, it was a no-brainer for us to get involved.

We look forward to our continued partnership with Brighter Bites as well as the day all children and families have easy access to fresh produce and healthy food.

For more information on Brighter Bites, please visit www.brighterbites.org



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