Brighter Bites and Queens Together Distribute Produce Care Packages to Thousands of Families in Need During COVID-19 Crisis
HOUSTON, TX - Many in the industry have banded together to create innovative fresh produce distribution solutions. Brighter Bites, along with Queens Together, The Connected Chef, and City Harvest, have launched an emergency initiative to ensure that current Brighter Bites’ Queens-area families continue to receive the produce they were receiving before COVID-19. This program includes door delivery service, which fills the communities’ needs without putting families at risk and disrupting their everyday routines.
“Brighter Bites NYC is incredibly proud to partner with these local New York organizations to distribute nutritious food to families suffering during this time,” said Melanie Button, Regional Program Director, Brighter Bites. “As an organization, we were adamant that school closures would not stop us from continuing to feed families, but we knew that we would need to shift our model. We were impressed with what Queens Together was accomplishing and we reached out to see if they could support. They turned out to be the perfect partner to connect us with the right people and places to get this work done. That initial email sparked an incredible partnership and an amazing, community-based ground operation. Our work has been described as 'grassroots but gargantuan' and we couldn’t agree more.”
Distributions began on April 28 and will continue weekly as long as necessary. According to a press release, City Harvest has pledged 40,000 pounds of produce for distribution to families, including those in Jackson Heights, Woodside, Astoria, and East Elmhurst. All of these Queens neighborhoods have been especially hard hit during the pandemic.
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Prior to the partnership, The Connected Chef served others in need in the community through its LifeLine delivery program. Its expertise in running the LifeLine program made it the perfect choice to execute a produce delivery program of this scale. The program will serve the 2,000 families who are enrolled in the Brighter Bites program at six schools in Queens. The program also aims to support the local economy, by re-employing chefs and cooks who have lost viable sources of food due to shortened hours and job losses to pack and deliver the produce.
“Queens Together is so pleased to be a part of this initiative,” said Jonathan Forgash of Queens Together. “We look forward to continuing this program and finding new ways to identify, package, and deliver nutritious food to those in desperate need across Queens.”
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, Brighter Bites served over 25,000 families nationwide enrolled in the program across 100 schools, with each family receiving 25 lbs of fresh produce and nutrition education on a weekly basis. When COVID-19 hit, schools shuttered and families lost access to Brighter Bites’ fresh produce program.
As our industry’s best and brightest continue creating new solutions to navigate this crisis, keep checking back on reports from AndNowUKnow.