Providing More Produce to Neighborhoods is Goal of Partnership with Three Non-Profits

By: Paula Murphy
| Published 04/17/2020

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HOUSTON, TX - Now more than ever, it is important for us all to incorporate healthy eating into our daily lives to keep our immune systems strong during the COVID-19 crisis. For those with already limited access to food, this time can be especially challenging, including accessing fresh fruits and vegetables. But a partnership with three local non-profits is working to make sure that more fresh produce is available in neighborhoods that need it the most across Houston.

Recently, Houston Food Bank had the opportunity to secure an increased amount of produce and jumped at the chance to ensure distribution of this valuable commodity to as many people as possible. To channel this produce out to the community, they are joining forces for produce distributions with YMCA of Greater Houston and Brighter Bites.

The food bank and YMCA had already begun working together on other projects when the idea for these additional distributions was born. And for YMCA, this partnership means a great deal to them: other than the fact that they are able to help ensure that individuals and families are able to put fresh and healthy food on their table, this partnership has personal meaning because it has allowed them to bring about 100 of their previously furloughed staff back to work to serve the community.

“YMCA of Greater Houston is honored to partner with the Houston Food Bank and Brighter Bites to ensure families have access to critical food supplies during this difficult time,” says Steve Ives, CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston. “With this powerful partnership, we will be able to better serve the Greater Houston area and those communities struggling to put food on the table.”

All of the produce is provided by Houston Food Bank. Brighter Bites, a local non-profit that delivers fresh produce and nutrition education to families to help them healthier habits, is participating by training and monitoring staff at the sites to make sure that the packing of the bags/boxes has balanced nutrition distribution.

'We are so very proud of our partnership with the Houston Food Bank and the YMCA of Greater Houston during this crisis,' says Brighter Bites CEO Rich Dachman. 'It is because of this incredible joint effort that thousands of Houston families will be receiving a weekly supply of free fresh fruits and vegetables to help them create healthy meals at a time when they need to increase their immunity while their financial resources may be even more limited.'

The produce distributions are taking place at locations throughout the city, using a drive-thru model and social distancing (mask, gloves, etc.) in keeping with CDC recommendations. Each distribution will include at least 20 pallets of fresh produce (16,000 – 20,000 pounds) and expects to serve 2400 families each day (800 families per site).

“COVID-19 has impacted every facet of life, including access to food and dining habits,” says Brian Greene, president/CEO of Houston Food Bank. “But we want to make sure that the food we distribute during this crisis remains produce focused as it is during ‘normal’ times. We want to always provide food for better lives, and we are grateful for the strong relationships we have with other social service organizations so that together we can best serve the community.”

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