Brighter Bites, a national nonprofit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands, has launched its ninth location in Bakersfield, California. The nonprofit will partner with Grimmway Farms and CAPK to help improve the health of students and families in the Bakersfield area through nutrition education, access to free and fresh produce weekly and tips on storing and cooking the fruits and vegetables properly.
With the support of CalFresh Healthy Living (SNAP-Ed), this is the third location of Brighter Bites programming in California, following Salinas (2021) and Los Angeles (2022), and the organization plans to continue expansion across the country to create more communities of health.
“Grimmway has a long history of investment in our local communities, and we continue to take the responsibility of stewardship very seriously,” said Dana Brennan, VP of government and public affairs at Grimmway. “It is an honor to partner with and champion an organization like Brighter Bites – who shares our vision of coming alongside the younger generations struggling with food insecurity to deliver fresh produce and the tools necessary to create a lifetime of healthy habits.”
Programming will begin with the Vineland School District, which includes Vineland Elementary and Sunset Middle School, and will serve around 150 to 200 families per week. The program will then offer three different produce box pickup sites during the summer season with the expectation of adding at least six more schools for the upcoming fall school year. For the next three years, Grimmway Farms has committed $60,000, along with weekly produce donations, to support this program’s expansion.
“Brighter Bites helps our parents learn about nutritious food and students learn the benefits of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables versus eating a piece of candy,” said Roberto Vasquez Euresti, Vineland School District’s director of categorical programs. “They have an opportunity to make wiser choices early on in life.”
Since launching in 2012, Brighter Bites has distributed more than 40 million pounds of produce and hundreds of thousands of nutrition education materials to over 500,000 individuals through schools, after school programs and summer camps in the cities in which it serves. Brighter Bites uses a simple formula for introducing healthy lifestyles to families: produce distribution, nutrition education and a fun food experience.
“We’ve reached quite the milestone launching three locations in California in less than a year, and we are nowhere near complete.” said Rich Dachman, CEO of Brighter Bites. “We are very thankful to our partners who make our mission possible and look forward to seeing these programs flourish.”