Brighter Bites Begins School Year by Increasing Access to Fresh Produce and Food Literacy
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD - Brighter Bites has long been an advocate for children and families. Increasing its program reach, the association is addressing food insecurity in Prince George’s County, Maryland. With the help of a new partner, Amerigroup and its generous donation of $40,000, Brighter Bites will be able to support nearly 9,000 more families.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a glaring light on how those living in economically disadvantaged communities without reliable access to fresh, healthy food are bearing the heaviest burden of COVID-19 infections,” said Northeast Regional Program Director of Brighter Bites, Melanie Button. “We are thrilled to join forces with Amerigroup to expand our reach throughout Prince George’s County and address food insecurity as a major social determinant of health. Together, we’re ensuring that families are not only able to put food on the table, but more importantly consume the right foods to keep them nourished and their immune systems strong.”
According to a press release, Prince George’s County was already struggling with food insecurity before the COVID-19 outbreak and now more than 30,000 of its residents are experiencing unemployment and food access disparities.
In order to address these rising levels of food insecurity, Brighter Bites’ program will help residents gain access to roughly 20–25 pounds of fresh produce each week, as well as an expansion of the organization’s school-based programming in the fall.
“At Amerigroup, we understand the vital role that healthy food can play in promoting the overall health and well-being of the communities we support and it is especially important for local youth,” said Vince Ancona, Amerigroup Maryland Medicaid Plan President. “We know that the food access gap for low-income Maryland residents has widened during the pandemic and our goal in partnering with Brighter Bites is to ensure that residents can obtain the food and resources they need to help them during this health crisis.”
Ever since the onset of the pandemic, Brighter Bites has experienced a surge in demand. Each week, it distributes 9,050 boxes of fresh food to more than 20 schools, churches, and community centers. Demand has increased at an unprecedented rate of over 500 percent since March.
We here at AndNowUKnow thank organizations like Brighter Bites for their dedication to helping those who need it most.