Our Story

How a spurned slice of cake sparked a new kind of co-op.

 

 

Two Women,
One Very
Bright Idea

 

Lisa Helfman & Dr. Shreela Sharma
Founders of Brighter Bites

 

For several years, Lisa Helfman and her family took part in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op, and she watched her children’s eating habits dramatically transform. So much so that her little boy turned down a piece of cake at a birthday party, craving instead the blueberries he’d grown fond of eating at home.

 

Like most moms, Lisa realized this was a fairly significant decision for a six-year-old. She wondered what kind of influence regular access to fresh produce might have on all children, especially if it were free to families.

She was inspired to replicate this type of positive change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas where access to grocery stores stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables is sorely limited. Because nutrition education in these communities is often equally lacking, Lisa’s vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools in these neighborhoods that included an educational component.

 

 

To start, she created a collaborative partnership with Dr. Shreela Sharma, an expert in nutrition and a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health, and they launched the program now known as Brighter Bites.

Since its inception in 2012, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 40,000,000 pounds of fresh produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 475,000 individuals (including teachers) in multiple cities across the country.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) recently named Brighter Bites the winner of the 2018 PHA Impact Award. In 2016, Brighter Bites won the Texas Health Champion Award.

Teamwork makes the dream work! 🤩 Our Houston team is ready to serve, and we are so grateful for our volunteers who come and make it happen! 👏👏

Interested in joining? Sign up today! brighterbites.org/volunteer

@brighterbiteshou #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesHouston #Nonprofit #Volunteer
...

28 0

Showing lots of love to @HEB for your partnership and your generosity in donating to our program! Thank you for continuing to support our work in creating communities of health through fresh food!

#ThankfulThursday #BrighterBites #HEB #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
...

15 1

The results are in from the @Target Circle Guest-Directed Giving program!
We are excited to share that guests at Target stores cast 92,424 votes to Brighter Bites, resulting in a generous donation from Target to Brighter Bites! Most importantly, thank you for voting for our mission and the impact we have on the community!
...

13 0

We are CRAZY for coconuts! 🥥🥥🥥Coconut water, coconut milk, shredded coconut, coconut meat, and more! 🧉🥛🍛🍚🍨How do you like to eat coconut?

@brighterbitesaustin #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesAustin #Coconut #Coconuts #FreshProduce
...

14 0

We are getting closer to our goal of $50,000, and we need YOU to help us meet our goal!
Every dollar of our Brighter Minds Start with Brighter Bites campaign goes directly to serve our families with fresh produce, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools! Join our mission today!➡️
www.justgiving.com/campaign/brighterbites

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites
...

13 0

Today, on Indigenous Peoples' Day we commend the rich history, culture, and people of the Native American/Indigenous community. On this day, let us all acknowledge the contributions of indigenous people and celebrate!

#IndigenousPeoplesDay
...

6 0

Kiwi always brings us the good fuzzy feelings! 😉💚
What fruit makes you smile?

Thank you @imperfectfoods for this delicious and sweet donation!

#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesAustin #FreshProduce #Fruits #Kiwi
@brighterbitesaustin
...

23 2

🌅Sunshine is in the forecast for our Brighter Bites distributions in Southwest Florida!
Thank you @publix Super Market Charities for your generous donation in support of our program to deliver produce to the families we serve! Your donation makes a bright impact!

@brighterbites_swfl #BrighterBites #BrighterBitesSWFL
#ThankfulThursday #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience #Nonprofit
...

17 0

Are you ready to make an impact?
Your donation provides families with direct access to fresh fruits and vegetable, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools. Join our campaign today!
www.justgiving.com/campaign/brighterbites

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites
...

14 0

All smiles, all the time! 😃🍅
What fruit or veggie makes you smile?

#WorldSmileDay #BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
...

19 0

Brighter Bites is making BIG impact across the country, and we want you to join us! 🤩 Did you know that your donation makes a direct impact on our families?

Your donation of $25, $50, $100 goes toward providing direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools for families nationally!

We are getting closer to our goal of raising $50,000! For every dollar donated until October 31st, it will be matched up to $50,000. Donate today and be a part of our mission to create communities of health through fresh food this school year! 🍓🥑🍊🥭

Link in bio on how you can give!
#BrighterMindsBrighterBites #BrighterBites #BackToSchool2021
...

20 0

Is there anything sweeter than homemade pancakes? Homemade sweet potato pancakes! 🥞🍠

See for yourself! ➡️ https://brighterbites.org/recipe/sweet-potato-pancakes/
#NationalPancakeDay #SweetPotatoPancakes #BrighterBites #HealthyRecipe #HealthyEating #HealthyCooking #FreshProduce #Vegetables
...

9 0

Did you know that a healthy diet can impact a student's academic performance, energy, and focus?

Let's get this school year off to a healthy start for kids across the country! Your donation makes a direct impact on the families we serve-Brighter Bites provides free access to fresh fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and healthy tips and tools to thousands of families across the country.

We cannot wait to partner with you in our mission of creating communities of health through fresh food! Link in bio!

#BrighterMindsBrighterBites #BrighterBites
...

11 0

Looking for some healthy lunchbox ideas? We've got you covered! 🍱🥪🍎

Easy, portable lunchbox ideas ➡️
• Sandwiches or rollups using peanut butter or lean deli meat like turkey on a whole wheat pita 🥙
• String cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, hummus, and tuna salad are great snacks 🧀🥚
• Easily-transportable fruits and veggies: apples, bananas, baby carrots, celery sticks,
cherry tomatoes, grapes, or berries 🍎🍌🍇
• Almonds or other nuts and dried fruit make an energy packed and nutritious treat 🥜

#HealthyLunchbox #BackToSchool2021 #BrighterBites #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables
...

18 0

Houston Friends! 12 days left to vote!

Did you see in @Target Circle that you can vote for Brighter Bites as your community partner of choice? From now until the end of September, you can cast your vote! Make a difference in the lives of thousands of families all while shopping! Log in and vote today! www.target.com/circle/community-voting

Happy shopping! ❤️🛍🎯
#TargetCircle #NonprofitPartner
...

6 0

Another successful week of programming down! 🙌 Here's a glimpse at some of our kick-off distributions in our Texas cities!

@brighterbiteshou @brighterbitesdallas @brighterbitesaustin
#BrighterBites #BrighterBitesHouston #BrighterBitesDallas #BrighterBitesAustin #FreshProduce #Fruits #Vegetables #NutritionEducation #FunFoodExperience
...

34 0