HOUSTON – Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh fruits, vegetables and nutrition education resources directly into families’ hands, announces the availability of a report recapping the organization’s efforts surrounding its successful 2020 Voucher Program.
In April of 2020, Brighter Bites implemented its first retail produce voucher program, ensuring families received continued access to produce and nutrition information as schools closed during the pandemic. The whitepaper, authored by Brighter Bites co-founder, Dr. Shreela Sharma and Amier Haidar, MPH, both of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, details the innovative public and private partnerships Brighter Bites established to address food insecurity during COVID-19 with the use of produce vouchers.
“The information gained and provided by retail partners on the families’ buying preferences will be used to ensure variety in the Brighter Bites program, which tracks the unique produce items provided weekly to families. This variety is strongly linked to program loyalty, ultimately translating to better health choices and outcomes,” said Dr. Shreela Sharma, Professor of Epidemiology at the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, University of Texas School of Public Health.
Voucher Program Highlights:
- 12,482 families received $25 produce vouchers sent bi-weekly
- Over 43,500 vouchers sent to families in Houston, Austin, Dallas, Southwest Florida and Washington DC
- $652,295 in retail produce sales were generated with a 60% redemption rate
“All of our Brighter Bites families rely on food distribution at schools, so when everything began shutting down at the onset of the pandemic, we knew we had to respond to ensure our families were taken care of,” said Rich Dachman, CEO of Brighter Bites. “We’re thankful to the retail partners and other volunteers who stepped up to help make this initiative possible, ultimately infusing over $650,000 in produce purchases into the retail setting. This was a real win-win as it brought customers to retail and allowed our partners to be part of the health solutions in the communities they are in.”
Families received 25-dollar vouchers to use at partner grocery stores with the freedom to select produce that had become family favorites after repeated exposure through the Brighter Bites program. A few of the most selected items purchased using the vouchers were peppers, citrus, bananas, tomatoes, berries, avocados, mangoes, onions, and corn.
The Brighter Bites 2020 Voucher Program whitepaper report may be downloaded here. To learn more about Brighter Bites, visit brighterbites.org, or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or YouTube.
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About Brighter Bites:
Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites is an evidence-based, multi-component elementary school, preschool, and summer camp program that utilizes reliable access to fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and consistent exposure to recipes and messages that feature fresh food. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has provided over 40 million pounds of produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, and Southwest Florida. In February 2021 Brighter Bites expanded its programming to Salinas, California. To learn more about Brighter Bites visit www.brighterbites.org.