BRIGHTER BITES RECEIVES $1.5 MILLION WALMART FOUNDATION GRANT TO EXPAND ACCESS TO FRESH PRODUCE & NUTRITIONAL EDUCATION
Houston, TX (March 15, 2022) – Brighter Bites, a Houston-based nonprofit providing under-resourced families with fresh produce and nutrition education, received a $1.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation to expand programming in communities throughout the country.
The grant will support Brighter Bites’ project, “Build a Better Tomorrow for Our Families,” by creating communities of health through increasing access to fresh food and nutrition education equitably across neighborhoods in participating cities. Currently, Brighter Bites’ serves over 30,000 school children and their families across 148 schools in Houston, Dallas, Austin, the Washington, D.C. metro area, New York City, Salinas, CA, Southwest Florida, and Los Angeles.
Brighter Bites will use the granted funds to establish new partnerships with food banks, community partners, additional local funders, and school districts through the 2023-2024 school year. These will also be utilized to hire staff and other resources necessary for expansions to other cities. By broadening its national scope, Brighter Bites will increase the impact it currently provides among families living in neighborhoods and communities defined as “food deserts.”
Additional investments in technology will be made as well, including an improved data infrastructure that will enhance data collection and maintenance. Brighter Bites will extend teachers and school administrators’ access to digital resources, which will then be applied inside the classroom and at home among families.
Brighter Bites’ goal has always been simple – to impact as many children and families as possible by providing easy access to fruits and vegetables. Each week families, teachers, and administrators participating in the Brighter Bites program receive approximately 50 servings of eight to twelve different produce items, along with nutrition education materials.
“Empowering children and families to make healthier food choices is crucial in strengthening the health and wellbeing of communities,” said Eileen Hyde, senior director community resilience, Walmart.org. “Our support of Brighter Bites over the years has helped communities across the U.S. to consume more fresh fruits and vegetables, and we’re thrilled with the impact their programs are having.”
“Brighter Bites is honored and grateful to be awarded this grant from the Walmart Foundation,” said Rich Dachman, CEO of Brighter Bites. “These funds will allow us to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to even more families around the country as we continue expansion to other cities, creating communities of health and removing barriers to access of fresh food.”
Brighter Bites partners with the UTHealth School of Public Health to demonstrate its impact in terms of improving its families’ long-term health and nutrition. A recent statistic that UTHealth researchers reported states, “As compared to baseline, at two years follow-up after the program, parents reported significant increases in daily intake of vegetables, and combined fruit and vegetables. As compared to the shopping and consumption habits of families at baseline, by the end of the spring participating families reported a significant decrease in the amount of added sugars consumed, as well as a significant increase in eating produce-heavy meals together at home.”
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About Brighter Bites:
Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites is an evidence-based, multi-component elementary school, preschool, and summer camp program that utilizes reliable access to fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and consistent exposure to recipes and messages that feature fresh food. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has provided over 40 million pounds of produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, and Southwest Florida. In February 2021 Brighter Bites expanded its programming to Salinas, California. To learn more about Brighter Bites visit www.brighterbites.org.
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 24 countries, employs more than 2.2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmart.org.