Lipman Family Farms Teams Up with Brighter Bites to Improve Access to Healthy Foods
FORT MYERS, FL - Lipman Family Farms is setting its sights on what it can do to increase exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables for families in underserved communities. Teaming up with Harry Chapin Food Bank and Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that helps create communities of health through fresh food, Lipman Family Farms is launching school-based programs to encourage healthy eating by providing fresh produce, nutrition education materials, support of in-class education, and healthy recipes to families in South Florida.
“Over the past couple of years, Lipman Family Farms has donated tomatoes to Brighter Bites programs in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, and we’ve been proud of our association with the program and its impact on so many lives,” said Jaime Weisinger, Director of Community Relations and Government Relations, Lipman Family Farms. “When there was an opportunity to bring the program to Southwest Florida, we jumped at the chance. Brighter Bites fits every part of our philanthropy strategy, and we’re thrilled to be donating even more produce to Brighter Bites right here in our own backyard.”
According to Feeding America, nearly 40,000 individuals in Collier County, 36 percent of whom are children, lack consistent access to nutritionally adequate food. To remedy that, Brighter Bites is running programs this spring and summer that will provide more than 75,000 pounds of produce and thousands of pieces of nutrition education materials to over 600 families and teachers at Lake Trafford Elementary School, Eden Park Elementary School, and the Boys and Girls Club in the Collier County School District. Lipman Family Farms and Harry Chapin Food Bank are supporting the initiative and doing their part by donating thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and veggies, warehousing, and transportation services.
“Local partnerships are critical to the success of our organization and the impact we have on the communities where we work,” said Samuel Newman, Executive Director of Brighter Bites. “We could not be happier to be partnering with two of the most trusted organizations in the region.”
Within the initiative, a simple formula is used to introduce healthy lifestyles to families that includes produce distribution, nutrition education, and encouraging families to sample delicious and fun recipes. Parents and community volunteers also pack bags of fresh fruits and veggies for families and teachers to take home each week over the course of three eight-week sessions. Each free two-bag set contains approximately 50 servings of 12 different produce items.
“Many hungry families struggle to eat healthy food on a budget. Teaching them how to do that is an important priority for us,” said Richard LeBer, President and CEO of Harry Chapin Food Bank. “That’s why we’re very excited to bring Brighter Bites’ effective programs to Southwest Florida.”
According to a press release, research shows the Brighter Bites model provides consistent opportunities for children and their families to practice healthier behaviors in school and at home, with 98 percent of parents reporting their children eating more fruits and vegetables thanks to the Brighter Bites program and 74 percent maintaining that increased level of consumption after the program ends. Children and parents participating in Brighter Bites also reported:
- Significant increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed
- Significant increase in serving more fruits and vegetables as snacks
- Two-fold increase in cooking meals from scratch, and a significant increase in eating meals together and serving more produce as part of those meals
- Two-fold increase in using nutrition labels to guide grocery purchases
- A significant decrease in added sugars consumed among children
Since launching in 2012, Brighter Bites has distributed more than 16 million pounds of produce and over 100,000 nutrition education materials to 40,000 families through elementary schools, preschools, and summer camps. Southwest Florida is the sixth Brighter Bites program to launch after Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
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