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Brighter Bites enrollment is for school year 2020-2021 is closed. The 2021-2022 application will be posted in January 2021.

Please reach out to your city contact below with any questions.

 

Houston

535 Portwall St
Houston, TX 77029

Dallas

1808 S. Good Latimer Expy
Dallas, TX 75226

Austin

9715 Burnet Rd, #400, Bldg #7
Austin, TX 78758

NYC

5501 2nd St
Long Island City, NY 11101

Washington, D.C.

4900 Puerto Rico Ave NE
Washington, D.C. 20017

Southwest Florida

3940 Prospect Ave, #101
Naples, FL 34104

I’m interested in hosting Brighter Bites next school year, but what are the requirements?

Please click here for a list of requirements. Once you’ve read through them and understand our partnership requirements, proceed to our online application. It should take you 10-15 minutes to complete. Please include the principal/director in this process to ensure their support.

 

Does my site qualify for Brighter Bites?

A site qualifies for Brighter Bites if one of the following is true:

1) 80% or more students/campers receive free or reduced lunch.
2) The site receives Title I funding.
3) 75% or more students/campers live below the national poverty line.

*Please note that additional geographic requirements may be applicable. If you have questions about your site’s eligibility, please contact the appropriate city director above.

 

Who can sign up for Brighter Bites after a school has been accepted?

All families at your site are eligible to participate in the program, regardless of income-level. Some schools may restrict participation to certain grade levels, based on the capacity of the school. Brighter Bites’ produce distributions are modeled after a food co-op or cooperative in which all members contribute, in some way or another, to building a community of health through fresh food. Families contribute by volunteering, taking time to speak with us at distribution about the health benefits of eating fresh produce and how to cook what is in the bags, and using the produce at home while talking to their kids about health! School administrators, faculty, and staff play a different role. Please read our Staff Participation Policy to learn more about their roles.

 

What is CATCH?

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is an evidence-based coordinated health program that has been shown to prevent childhood obesity and launch kids and communities toward healthier lifestyles. CATCH impacts a child’s nutrition knowledge, level of physical activity, classroom environment, and community, by making healthy decisions easy and fun. This coordinated curriculum engages all stakeholders of a child’s life including: parents, teachers, administrative staff, PE coaches, cafeteria staff, and the larger school community. CATCH “Coordination Kits” provide easy access for schools and childcare programs to use the program effectively across all disciplines.

If you’d like more information about CATCH, visit their website or YouTube channel.

What is YUM?

YUM (Youth Understanding MyPlate) focuses on the MyPlate food groups to encourage school-aged children to make healthy food choices. The YUM curriculum recognizes that making healthy food choices is a critical part of living a healthier life.

How does Brighter Bites relate to CATCH and YUM?

Brighter Bites produce boxes help families apply the nutrition ideas at home that kids learn during CATCH/YUM lessons. Our nutrition education handbooks and nutrition education materials for parents also incorporate CATCH/YUM concepts, enabling families to support what their child is learning in the classroom.

What is a Wellness Committee?

Your school’s Wellness Committee is the group that will spearhead your coordinated school health efforts. It is made up of one strong, motivated Wellness Champion, who will act as the team lead, and several supporting committee members. Your Wellness Champion’s role in the committee is like the Principal’s role for the school. They don’t do everything, but they oversee activities to ensure that the CATCH/YUM curriculum is being implemented. The supporting members of the Wellness Committee should represent differing areas of specialty within the school and have an interest in health and should actively help in the implementation of the nutrition education curriculum.

How do I form a Wellness Committee?

To build an effective Wellness team, you will work with your Principal to create a standing committee. You will need to choose a variety of representatives who are enthusiastic and want to actively participate in the school’s Wellness initiatives and inspire others to implement the school health components. Look for that teacher who is always running in a 5K, or the counselor that brings in fresh veggies from their garden. If you already have a committee focused on health and wellness who would like to support CATCH/YUM implementation, even better!

What is the Brighter Bites-CATCH Checklist mentioned under the Nutrition Education Requirements?

The principal or director plays an integral role in the successful implementation of Brighter Bites. Without their active support and oversight, we just can’t do it! Click here to review the checklist.

I’m a teacher with a CATCH Digital login but I can’t remember how to log in and find my lessons.

Visit https://catch.org/users/sign_in to sign in and it will take you to a dashboard where you can easily navigate to find your lessons. Ask your site’s assigned Brighter Bites Program Coordinator for more help should you need it. Remember to track your lessons so that we can measure the impact you and your team members are having on your student’s knowledge about nutrition.

What is a Produce Activity?

A Produce Activity is a nutrition activity taught in the classroom using a set of Brighter Bites boxes. Typically, Brighter Bites secures a fixed number of produce boxes for each school, camp, or community center. Brighter Bites will provide produce boxes to teachers and staff who play an active role in our program, after ensuring that the needs of the students and their families are met. We encourage teachers to utilize their produce boxes in class to conduct Brighter Bites produce activities or to offer a digital produce activity experience for their students through our video library. Remember to track them as well!

How can other school staff participate in the Brighter Bites co-op model?

School staff (including, but not limited to: administrators, office workers, teacher aids, assistants, reading specialists, nurses, janitorial or cafeteria staff) must also contribute to the co-op in order to receive boxes. They can participate by volunteering at the distribution of the produce, helping Brighter Bites’ staff deliver produce boxes to faculty when available who are conducting Produce Activities and teaching CATCH/YUM lessons, or helping our team and the school by taking home extra boxes if there are unclaimed boxes at the end of the distribution window.

Where does the produce come from?

Brighter Bites partners with food banks and other organizations to provide fresh produce for our families. Most of the produce we receive is donated from wholesalers, farmers, and other retailers across the country.

Why are some of the items in my boxes split open/cut/bruised/moldy/rotten/etc.?

Because our produce is mostly donated, it may not always look perfect. Often, the donated fruits and veggies are perfectly edible and nutritious but not “pretty” enough to be sold in a grocery store. Some fruits and veggies may be “weird-looking,” very ripe, or have small bruises. These items are still okay!

Please understand that we follow guidelines from the food banks and Feeding America to determine which produce is acceptable to eat and which is not. We work with volunteers during the bagging process to make sure that any moldy or rotten produce is NOT put in boxes. However, sometimes things slip through unnoticed, and we apologize in advance for that. Feel free to come check with Brighter Bites staff about whether a produce item is rotten or just “different” and still edible. If you did get an item that is rotten, Brighter Bites staff will gladly replace it with an alternate item, depending on availability.

It's National Linguini Day and we wanted to share our Pasta Primavera recipe, which we think is imPASTAble to resist! 🍝🍝🍝

INGREDIENTS
• 2 zucchini, diced
• 1 bell pepper, diced
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper (to taste)
• 1 jar (32 oz) pasta sauce
• 1 lb uncooked whole wheat pasta

DIRECTIONS
In a large pot boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions. When ready, drain pasta and let sit. Sauté zucchini, bell pepper, onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Add the sauce and heat then serve over the cooked pasta. 🍝😋

#brighterbites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #nationallinguiniday #pasta #recipeoftheday #freshproduce #vegetables
...

This might sound corny, but it has felt a-maize-ing 🌽 to be back in our communities and see all of our Brighter Bites families this week! 💛

That’s a wrap on our first week of fall programming in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and DC! 🎉📦🧅🥕🍎🥔🍋

#brighterbites #freshproduce #fruits #veggies #vegetables #nutritioneducation
...

Want to be a part of the Brighter Bites volunteer community?
We think we'd make a great PEAR! 🍐 🍐 Join us this year in distributing our boxes full of fresh produce to our families. We have opportunities available in all of our cities! 🍉🍌🥕🌽🍊🥬

Distribution Volunteer Duties may include:
• Distributing boxes into cars in the drive thru line or directly into the hand of families in walk up lines 🚙🚗📦
• Lifting and moving produce boxes or moving pallets 🥦💪
• Tracking and checking in families ✔️📋
• Directing drive-thru or walk up lines🚦🚧
• Set up and break down of tents/tables 🎪
• Adding handouts/materials/stickers to the boxes ⭐

Hungry to help? 🍎
Sign up online ➡️www.brighterbites.org/volunteer
...

Looking to squeeze in a little volunteering? 🍋 Our volunteers spots are open, and we are ready to GUAC-and-roll! 🥑 Today, we are highlighting our Produce Boxing opportunity located at the @houstonfoodbank ! It's all hands on deck to help package up all of the fruits and vegetables for our Brighter Bites families. 💚

During the boxing project, volunteers will help build produce orders for Brighter Bites schools at the Houston Food Bank. This includes sorting and boxing produce, then stacking the completed boxes of produce onto pallets. These pallets will then be delivered by the Houston Food Bank to Brighter Bites schools throughout the week.
 
Volunteer duties may include:
• Sorting a variety of fruits and vegetables into boxes 🥕🍓🍍🍊
• Lifting and stacking full produce boxes in order to build large pallets of packaged produce 📦
• Cleaning the work area by disposing of trash and recycling ♻️

Hungry to Help? 🍎 Sign up on our website ➡️ www.brighterbites.org/volunteer
...

Fall programming has started today in many of our cities! We are staying safe 😷 and practicing social distancing ↔️ while distributing produce to our families 🚗 🚙 📦. And although you can’t see them, we have BIG smiles 😁 underneath our masks! It feels great to be back in our communities!! 🎉🍎🥦🥕🍍🧅🍌🧅🍋🍅
#brighterbites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #freshproduce #eathealthy #foodismedicine #nutritioneducation #childnutrition #fruits #veggies #vegetables
...

August is #NationalPeachMonth and we are sharing some tips on how to enjoy this delicious summer fruit!

How do you like to eat peaches? On top of yogurt, tossed in a salad, or as a snack? Share your favorite recipe with us!

#BrighterBites #freshproduce #summerproduce #eatinseason #eathealthy #foodismedicine #fruit #summerfruit #JoyofFresh #HaveaPlant
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We're so proud of Jennifer Boone and Ragen Doyle for participating in ReFED's Food Recovery Accelerator this year. The learnings from the program may now be found in this new ReFED report, which is an essential resource for everyone interested in scaling innovative food recovery and hunger relief efforts. Download it here: https://bit.ly/AccelReport! ...

Looking for an easy snack to enjoy in this summer heat? Our Frozen Fruit Pops are the perfect treat! In honor of #nationalwatermelonday we are sharing this tasty recipe. All you need is a ripe watermelon, a blender or food processor, and popsicle molds (or small plastic cups and toothpicks!). It's a tasty treat that has tons of flavor and nutrition without any added sugar!
Visit our website for the full recipe.

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesBrighterHomes #freshproduce #eathealthy #foodismedicine #fruit #JoyofFresh #HaveaPlant
...

Because mac and cheese can be both delicious and nutritious! Our Crafty Mac 'n Cheese includes some hidden veggies in the creamy sauce. Can you guess what vegetables we use?
#nationalmacandcheeseday #macncheese #BrighterBites #freshproduce #eathealthy #foodismedicine #veggies #vegetables #JoyofFresh #HaveaPlant
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