Volunteers at Uplift Williams Preparatory are early risers! Every Thursday, after dropping off their kids in the morning, the volunteers stop by the computer room to help us bag the produce and serve the families at Williams Prep. We get started as early as 7:00 am and just 45 minutes later we are distributing the produce, recipe cards, and fun food samples to all participants. It is an incredible sight to see! Two of these volunteers are Ana Razo and Raquel Ariaz. They have been helping with Brighter Bites distributions at the school since the beginning of last semester. Each of them has a different perspective about the program’s impact. Ana told us that she has four children who love fruits and vegetables – unlike other parents, she doesn’t have to convince her children to eat them. She said, “Typically I prepare the produce I receive from Brighter Bites by sautéing the veggies, like bell peppers and onions, and adding some type of meat.” She also mentioned that she likes to cook soups and fresh salads with the produce too. Ana had gestational diabetes, so for her it is incredibly important to eat a balanced diet and teach her kids how to include fruits and vegetables in their meals and snacks every day. Brighter Bites has reduced Ana’s grocery bill from $160 to $110 per week and has made it possible for her and her family to eat more produce. Raquel Ariaz had a different story to tell. The members of her family did not generally like the flavor of most fruits and vegetables before they began participating in Brighter Bites. Cooking different kinds of fresh produce used to intimidate her. She chuckled as she said, “When I signed up to volunteer for Brighter Bites, I started cooking the fresh produce at home. My kids were mad at first because they were not used to eating that way, but now they love it!” Raquel credits the Brighter Bites recipe cards with helping her make positive changes in the kitchen. “My kids went from [saying] ‘I don’t want any’ to ‘may I have more please.’ I have never eaten this healthy in my life and I am so grateful for this program!” Raquel has seen changes in her and her family’s health, too. She has lost 10 pounds and her children are noticeably more energetic. Williams Prep volunteers truly make our mornings BRIGHTER and inspire us to continue bringing the Brighter Bites formula to all corners of Dallas!