Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education resources directly into families’ hands, will partner with Texas AFT and AFT to support students and their families at Dogan Elementary School, located in Houston’s Fifth Ward.
The partnership will ensure that all 200 participating families at Dogan Elementary receive 16 weeks of Brighter Bites programming this spring and fall. As part of the Brighter Bites program, students will receive 20-25 pounds of fresh, seasonal produce and teacher-led nutrition education on a weekly basis. Co-branded AFT/Brighter Bites signage will also be featured throughout the school, promoting healthy eating and wellness.
“Kids who are hungry can’t focus on learning, and research shows that they’re more likely to be distracted, anxious and more likely to face other negative impacts like school discipline,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “As part of our effort to make public schools places that support the whole child, and centers where families and communities feel welcome and safe, we want every kid to be able to access healthy meals, so they’re ready to concentrate, grow and thrive. Brighter Bites helps make that mission a reality, and we’re thrilled to work together to support kids and their families.”
With the mission of creating communities of health through fresh food, Brighter Bites’ ultimate goal is to increase access to — and sustainable consumption of — fruits and vegetables to reduce health disparities among populations that are particularly vulnerable to obesity and diet-related diseases. Since launching in 2012, Brighter Bites has distributed almost 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 that helps demystify produce and show just how great it can taste.
“Brighter Bites/Houston is excited to partner with the AFT to support families and teachers at Dogan Elementary. As part of the Brighter Bites program, Dogan’s staff will teach the students CATCH nutrition education lessons during the school year, ensuring that they know the importance of eating fruits and vegetables for their overall health,” said Mike Pomeroy, Senior Director of Programming at Brighter Bites. “Teachers play a significant role in the Brighter Bites program by helping their students build healthy habits for life.”
In addition to this year’s general programming assistance to Brighter Bites, the American Federation of Teachers will also augment its support by providing additional resources to Dogan Elementary’s students and their families.
“The staff at Dogan Elementary School is so grateful to the American Federation of Teachers for helping to support our teachers, our students, and their families this year,” said Dogan Elementary School Principal Margarita Tovar. “The teacher-led nutrition lessons, the distributed produce boxes, and the fun food experiences of the Brighter Bites program will help ensure that the produce is prepared and enjoyed at our families’ homes throughout the program period and beyond.”