FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brighter Bites and Queens Together Distribute Produce Care Packages to Thousands of Families in Need during COVID-19 Crisis
The Connected Chef and City Harvest join the effort to help Queens, NY communities
Houston, TX (May 5, 2020) – Brighter Bites, along with Queens Together, The Connected Chef and City Harvest, have launched an emergency initiative aimed to ensure that current Brighter Bites’ Queens-area families continue to receive the produce they were receiving before COVID-19 impacted its community. This program includes door delivery service, which fills the communities’ needs without putting families at risk and disrupting their everyday routines.
Distributions began on April 28 and will continue weekly as long as necessary. City Harvest has pledged 40,000 pounds of produce for distribution to families, including those in Jackson Heights, Woodside, Astoria, and East Elmhurst. All of these Queens neighborhoods have been especially hard hit during the pandemic.
“Brighter Bites NYC is incredibly proud to partner with these local New York organizations to distribute nutritious food to families suffering during this time,” said Melanie Button, Regional Program Director, Brighter Bites. “As an organization, we were adamant that school closures would not stop us from continuing to feed families but we knew that we would need to shift our model. We were impressed with what Queens Together was accomplishing and we reached out to see if they could support. They turned out to be the perfect partner to connect us with the right people and places to get this work done. That initial email sparked an incredible partnership and an amazing, community based, ground operation. Our work has been described as “grassroots but gargantuan” and we couldn’t agree more.”
Prior to the partnership, The Connected Chef served others in need in the community through their LifeLine delivery program. Their expertise in running the LifeLine program made them the perfect choice to execute a produce delivery program of this scale. The program will serve the 2,000 families who are enrolled in the Brighter Bites program at six schools in Queens. The program also aims to support the local economy, by re-employing chefs and cooks who have lost viable sources of food due to shortened hours and job losses to pack and deliver the produce.
Brighter Bites is a nonprofit with the mission of creating communities of health through fresh food. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the organization served over 25,000 families nationwide enrolled in the program across 100 schools, with each family receiving 25 lbs. of fresh produce and nutrition education on a weekly basis. Then COVID-19 hit, schools shuttered, and families lost access to this fresh produce they were dependent on for daily nourishment.
“Queens Together is so pleased to be a part of this initiative,” said Jonathan Forgash of Queens Together. “We look forward to continuing this program and finding new ways to identify, package, and deliver nutritious food to those in desperate need across Queens.
About Brighter Bites:
Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites is an evidence-based, multi-component elementary school, preschool, and summer camp program that utilizes reliable access to fruits and vegetables, nutrition education, and consistent exposure to recipes and messages that feature fresh food. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has provided more than 27 million pounds of produce and millions of nutrition education materials to more than 275,000 individuals (including teachers) in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, and Southwest Florida. To learn more about Brighter Bites visit www.brighterbites.org.
About Queens Together:
Queens Together is reimagining our local food industry as the catalyst for nourishing our communities in crisis. We create, implement and manage novel “Last mile” systems that address unprecedented hunger and harm to local economies. We do this by using our roots in the food business and history of community activism to see issues on the ground and activate solutions. The initiative was formed in early March by chef activist Jonathan Forgash and Sunnyside Business Improvement District executive director Jaime-Faye Bean. In its first six weeks, they have delivered over 20,000 meals to hospital workers, military medical personnel, and people facing food insecurity across Queens. To learn more about Queens Together visit https://queenstogether.org.
This story was published in the following publications:
- And Now U Know
- FOX NY
- The Packer
- WNBC New York
- WPIX in NY