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.

Interested in learning a little bit more about our impact in the communities we serve? Here's the scoop! ➡️
Since its inception in 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 40,000,000 pounds of fresh produce and hundreds of thousands of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in multiple cities across the country. 🎉🙌

A majority of children in the United States do not consume sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables. These consumption rates are significantly lower among minority populations who live in underserved areas known as food deserts: places without access to fresh produce. So we bring good food to where kids already are: preschools, elementary schools, and summer camps. 🏫

Every week, Brighter Bites heads to these sites and distributes fresh, seasonal produce for families and teacher to pick up and take home. Each week of programming, we provide approximately 50 servings of fruits and vegetables, weighing 20-25 pounds, for the families we serve. 📦🥦🌽🍇

Currently we are serving over 120 schools across SEVEN cities! Some of our most frequently distributed produce items include: apples, carrots, oranges, pears, potatoes, bananas, cucumbers, limes, tomatoes, onions, and pineapple. Now that is big and healthy impact! 🍎🥕🍊🍐🥔🍌🥒🍋🍅🧅🍍

#BrighterBitesImpact #BrighterBites #WeAreBrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #Nonprofit #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #JoyOfFresh #EatHealthy
...

Mondays aren't so bad when you have a Brighter Bites box of produce to look forward to! 📦🍎🍍🥦🥕
Brighter Bites distributions are outdoor drive thru and walk up lines this year. They are safe and contactless, and not to mention fun and healthy for the whole family! We cannot wait to see our Brighter Bites families this week! What do you think is in the box this week? 🤔📦
#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience
...

We are thrilled to share that we’ve been selected as a #VoicesDMV Community Action Awards winner for our Washington, D.C. program! Thank you @communityfndn for helping us spark change and turn our ideas into action to enhance our community!
#AdvocacyToAction #CommunityAction
...

🍓Strawberries are red,⁠
Blueberries are blue.⁠
Mangoes are sweet🥭,⁠
and we think you are too!⁠
♥️ -The Brighter Bites crew!⁠

#HappyValentinesDay⁠
...

Brighter Bites is wishing our community a Happy Lunar New Year!
#LunarNewYear
...

This #WellnessWednesday we are celebrating the avocado!⁠
Avocados are in peak season. 😋🥑⁠
What does that mean❓ When fruits and vegetables are in season it means that they are the most flavorful and affordable.⁠

✨It can be tricky to choose the right avocado, but here are a few of our tips! ⁠

🥑 Avocados are available year round like most fruits and vegetables these days, but January through March is the best time of year for the best flavor.⁠
🥑Look for avocados that are green and firm if you won’t be using them for a few days or avocados that are⁠
black and evenly yield to gentle touch for immediate use. ⁠
🥑To ripen avocados, you may leave them out at room temperature until they soften. ⁠
🥑Look for avocados without bruises, blemishes, soft spots, or very mushy flesh.⁠

Fun fact: Avocado is a fruit. 🥑😎⁠

#BrighterBites #EatinSeason #FreshProduce #Fruit #NutritionEducation #Nonprofit #HealthyTips #HealthyFact #Avocado ⁠
...

It's National Pizza Day 🍕🎉, so we are sharing our Zucchini Pizza recipe and a healthy tip for you:

Did you know that you can make pizza without a flour crust? That's right! These yummy zucchini pizzas uses thin slices of zucchini as the crust! This recipe is flavorful, easy to make, full of nutrition, and budget-friendly. 🥫🧅It is sure to fit in with your health goals this year. 💪⁠
Check out the recipe below, and let us know what you think!⁠

INGREDIENTS:⁠
3 medium zucchini⁠
Pinch of salt and pepper⁠
1 small jar low sodium pizza or marinara sauce⁠
¼ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese⁠
your favorite vegetable toppings (onion, bell pepper, olives, or mushrooms)⁠

DIRECTIONS⁠
Turn on oven broiler, or preheat to 425°F. Wash zucchini and cut into slices about ¼ inches thick. Lightly sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Spread a small amount of sauce on each zucchini slice, then top with cheese and your choice of veggies. Broil on high for 3-5 minutes, or bake until cheese is melted. Serve immediately!⁠

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #RecipeOfTheDay #TuesdayTips #NationalPizzaDay #NutritionEducation #EatHealthy #BBHouston #BBAustin #BBDallas #BBNYC #BBWashingtonDC #BBSWFL
...

Looking for delicious and nutritious appetizers for this Super Bowl weekend at home?? 🏈⁠
Here are a few of our favorite dips perfect for the occasion-
• Better Than Ranch Dip⁠
• Black Bean Dip ⁠
• Corn Guacamole⁠
• Poblano Salsa
😋🥕🥑🌮⁠

Pair these dips with sliced veggies, tortillas chips, or as a toppings on tacos. ⁠

Visit our website for the full recipes. ➡️https://brighterbites.org/recipe/⁠

What are you snacking on this Super Bowl Sunday? Comment below with the healthy recipes! You’ll be making at home!

#BrighterBites #FreshProduce #fruits #vegetables #HealthyCooking #HealthyEating #RecipeOfTheDay #SuperBowlSnacks⁠
...

Think we are crazy for putting clothes on vegetables? We don’t CARROT all! 🥕😉
We love putting smiles on our families’ faces, and this guy sure did this week at Beacon Heights Elementary in DC! 🤩

@brighterbitesdc
#brighterbites #brighterbitesdc #freshproduce #fruits #vegetables
...

Can you guess what is special about today's "date"⁉️⁠
It is #NationalMedjoolDateDay! 🌴 To help celebrate National Medjool Date Day we would like to share a quick tip about dates:⁠
Did you know that the white spots that occur on dates are not mold, but the date’s natural sugar moving to the surface.😋 ⁠

For more tips on dates and other delicious fruits and vegetables visit our website at www.brighterbites.org/tips-tools 🤩⁠

@ndmedjooldates ⁠
#BrighterBites #NationalMedjoolDateDay #FreshProduce #NutritionEducation #Nonprofit #HealthyFact
...

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
...