Brighter Bites is fortunate to work with incredible produce partners around the country, and today we’d like to introduce you to a unique partner that is an integral part of our Washington, D.C. program: The Coastal Companies Foundation.
The Coastal Companies Foundation (Coastal) is a major mid-Atlantic distributor of fresh produce and dairy and a leading regional processor of fruits and vegetables through its three operating businesses: Coastal Sunbelt Produce, East Coast Fresh, and Cold Chain Logistics. Coastal was established in 2012 with the mission of nourishing its community through nutrition, education, and good corporate citizenship. “Our partnership with Brighter Bites further helps us accomplish that mission by directing produce and education to children and their families right here in our backyard,” said Micah Brown, president of East Coast Fresh and executive director of The Coastal Companies Foundation. “We are thrilled to be able to positively influence the eating habits of our surrounding community through the Brighter Bites program and give back in a truly meaningful way.”
We are equally thrilled to partner with Coastal, who has put their full-support behind Brighter Bites and mobilized their network of regional growers to introduce our families to an incredible variety of produce.
Jaci Daly, a Coastal Sunbelt Produce buyer, explains the process of gathering produce donations from suppliers:
“We seek support primarily through direct donations, but also by looking for opportunities when market supply exceeds demand. Our goal is to provide four unique items per week and, when possible, look to source retail packed products for two main reason: so families can recognize the brands when they are shopping on their own and to make it easier for volunteers packing the bags.”
Coastal’s dedication to sourcing produce from their incredible network of vendors has resulted in Coastal supporting half of our produce donations in Washington, D.C. Past Coastal produce donations have included unusual and exciting items like persimmons, celery root, Asian pears, and even edible flowers!
“Our vendors are proud to join us in supporting Brighter Bites, because they share our belief in the mission of creating communities of health through fresh food,” said Daly.
“We’re thrilled that Brighter Bites is empowering families with the knowledge to choose healthy, fresh produce, and we look forward to continuing to partner with them through Coastal,” said Josh Curland of BrightFarms, a Coastal vendor.
Brown put it best when he described the communal effort of the produce industry to create communities of health:
“While I’m not surprised by the impact of the program in Prince George’s County, I have been so impressed and humbled by the produce industry as a whole as it has come together to support this great cause, both here in the D.C. metro area and across the nation. Without the amazing support of our vendors and suppliers, none of this would be possible. And I can say personally that seeing the joy and genuine gratitude on the faces of those we are able to serve each week through this program makes it all worthwhile.”
We are so humbled by the hard work and generosity of The Coastal Companies Foundation and their dedicated vendors, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their incredible partnership over the last two years. We can’t wait to keep creating communities of health with you!
Check out a few snaps of our students saying thank you to Coastal’s amazing vendors!