Our Story

How a spurned slice of cake sparked a new kind of co-op.

 

 

Two Women,
One Very
Bright Idea

 

Lisa Helfman & Dr. Shreela Sharma
Founders of Brighter Bites

 

For several years, Lisa Helfman and her family took part in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op, and she watched her children’s eating habits dramatically transform. So much so that her little boy turned down a piece of cake at a birthday party, craving instead the blueberries he’d grown fond of eating at home.

 

Like most moms, Lisa realized this was a fairly significant decision for a six-year-old. She wondered what kind of influence regular access to fresh produce might have on all children, especially if it were free to families.

She was inspired to replicate this type of positive change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas where access to grocery stores stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables is sorely limited. Because nutrition education in these communities is often equally lacking, Lisa’s vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools in these neighborhoods that included an educational component.

 

 

To start, she created a collaborative partnership with Dr. Shreela Sharma, an expert in nutrition and a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health, and they launched the program now known as Brighter Bites.

Since its inception in 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 40,000,000 pounds of fresh produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in multiple cities across the country.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) recently named Brighter Bites the winner of the 2018 PHA Impact Award. In 2016, Brighter Bites won the Texas Health Champion Award.

Southwest Florida Friends!
Save the Date! You’re invited to join the Naples Children & Education Foundation on Saturday, January 30th at 7:00PM on WINK-TV. The one-hour televised event will highlight organizations it has funded and the systems of care it has built to support children like ours in Collier County. Please join us and help improve the life of a child—you won’t even have to get off the couch to do it.
Good news for our friends outside of Florida- The event will also be livestreamed online for all to see! Please visit https://www.ncefkids.com/ to tune in live on Saturday at 7:00PM EST.

@ncef_nwwf @brighterbites_swfl
#‎ItsAllForTheKids #NCEFNaples #NWWF21 #NCEFkids #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL #partnership #nonprofit #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation
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Today we honor the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. 
#MLKDay #MartinLutherKingDay
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That's a wrap for our first full week of spring programming in our cities!
This week, our families at Robinson Elementary in Houston, TX received these beautiful boxes full of grapes, carrots, oranges, potatoes, limes, and bananas. What a great variety of produce! So many options to cook up in the kitchen. What would you make with this box of produce?
🍇🥔🥕🍌🍊

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #FruitsAndVegetables #fruits #vegetables #nonprofit #nutritioneducation
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We are kicking off the new year with a classic! 🎉 In honor of National Spaghetti Day 🍝, we are sharing our Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe. This recipe is flavorful, easy to make, full of nutrition, and budget-friendly. 🥫🧅🧄🥕It is sure to fit in with all of your new goals this year. 💪
Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

INGREDIENTS
•2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
•1 large onion, finely chopped
•1 large carrot, finely chopped
•1 stalk celery, finely chopped
•4 cloves garlic, minced, or ½ tsp garlic powder
•1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
•1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes, no salt added
•½ tsp salt

DIRECTIONS
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is beginning to brown (5-8 minutes). Stir in garlic and Italian seasoning; cook for about 30 seconds. Add canned tomatoes and cook until thickened (about 4-6 minutes). Stir in salt. Serve over whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash!

NUTRITION FACTS FOR ONE SERVING (approx. ½ cup; makes 10 servings): 45 calories; 9 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fat; 2 grams protein; 2 grams dietary fiber
Average cost for one recipe: $1.76

#brighterbites #freshproduce #fruits #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #recipeoftheday #nationalspaghettiday
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It's Thankful Thursday, and we could not be more grateful for our Brighter Bites staff. Principal Franklin at Robert Gray Elementary said it so perfectly:
"Thank you again for another wonderful distribution day.
Thank you for making our families feel welcome and providing assistance with a smile.
Thank you for standing in the cold to make sure families are fed.
Thank you for all of the behind the scenes work no one knows about to make distribution days a success."

THANK YOU to all of our Brighter Bites programming staff for your dedication to serving our communities and bringing healthy foods and nutrition education to our families. Thank you! 👏🏽⭐

#brighterbites #ThankfulThursday #nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FreshProduce #fruit #vegetables
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Looking for some healthy recipes to cook this Thanksgiving?
From apples and Brussels sprouts to potatoes and sweet potatoes, we've got you covered! Before you grocery shop, be sure to look at our healthy holiday sides for some delicious and nutritious bites for the whole family!
• Apple Cake
• Crafty Mac 'n Cheese
• The Perfect Pear and Brussels Sprouts Salad
• Sautéed Brussels Sprouts w/ Apples and Pecans
• Sneaky Mashed Potatoes
• Sweet Potato Harvest Salad
And so many more recipes on our website made for YOU!
https://brighterbites.org/recipes/

#brighterbites #recipeoftheday #freshproduce #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #thanksgivingrecipes #healthysides #JoyofFresh #HaveaPlant
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“By giving kids access to fresh, nutritious food and showing them how to make the most of it, we help turn healthy habits into something even better: healthy lifestyles.” - Lisa Helfman, Founder

Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands. We teach them how to use it and track their behavior change. We make it fun. We make it free. And we make it happen via a simple, three-part formula: Produce Distribution + Nutrition Education + Fun Food Experience

This #ThankfulThursday we are so grateful for our Brighter Bites families and their loyalty in showing up to try new fruits and vegetables each week. Thank you, Brighter Bites families, for being a part of our community of health through fresh food!

#brighterbites #freshproduce #nonprofit #fruit #vegetables #healthyeating #healthycooking #HaveaPlant #JoyofFresh
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