NYC’s Largest Food Rescue Organization and Top Produce Company Team up with Nutrition Education Nonprofit to Address Childhood Obesity and Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in New York City This Summer
City Harvest and D’Arrigo Bros. of New York bring fresh fruits and vegetables to families in Queens through a new partnership with national nonprofit Brighter Bites
Food rescue nonprofit City Harvest and produce company D’Arrigo Bros. of New York today launched a summer-long program in New York City with Brighter Bites, a nonprofit organization that tackles childhood obesity by providing low-income families with free fresh produce and nutrition education. This effort builds on the three organizations’ similar work during the school year to provide free produce at schools with students living in underserved communities, and will increase access to produce for more than 400 families through programs at three summer camps in Queens.
“We believe that increasing access to healthy, affordable food is the key to helping all New Yorkers become food secure,” said Kate MacKenzie, City Harvest’s Senior Director of Programs. “Studies have shown children need to be offered a new food 10-15 times before they’ll develop a taste for it. For many working families in New York City that are struggling to make ends meet, however, experimenting with new foods like fresh produce isn’t always an option. City Harvest is excited to be partnering with Brighter Bites and D’Arrigo to decrease the risk that comes with trying new foods, and help families build healthy habits over the summer.”
According to City Harvest, more than 1.2 million New Yorkers face hunger every year, including nearly one in five New York City children. In Queens alone, over a quarter million residents are food insecure. Through City Harvest and Brighter Bites’ produce distribution and nutrition education programming, parents have the ability to learn which healthy foods their children have a taste for, and the recipe cards and tip sheets that come with the produce each week help them prepare meals in fun and nutritious ways.
Brighter Bites and City Harvest are kicking off programs at three summer camps in Queens that will provide more than 50,000 pounds of produce, along with kid-friendly bilingual recipes and tip sheets in English and Spanish on topics ranging from “Eating the Rainbow” to how bringing kids into the kitchen to help with meal prep makes them more invested in trying new foods.
Each week participating families will receive two bags containing approximately 50 servings of eight to 12 different fresh produce items along with the nutritional educational materials. D’Arrigo is generously donating a third of the fresh fruits and vegetables each week, with two-thirds coming from City Harvest.
“Every family wants to provide the best for their children to help them grow healthy and strong,” said Gabriela D’Arrigo, Vice President of Marketing for D’Arrigo. “As a family-owned business here in New York, we’re proud to partner with Brighter Bites and City Harvest to help our neighbors across the city have greater access to fresh produce.”
Since launching in 2012, Brighter Bites has distributed more than 17 million pounds of produce and hundreds of thousands of nutrition education materials to 200,000 individuals from more than 40,000 families through schools and summer camps in New York City, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Southwest Florida, and Washington, D.C. Brighter Bites uses a simple formula for introducing healthy lifestyles to families: produce distribution, nutrition education, and a fun food experience that includes sampling a recipe of the week to see just how great produce can taste. In New York City, parents and community volunteers will pack bags of fresh fruits and veggies for families and teachers to take home for six weeks this summer.
“We know that far too many parents struggle to access and provide their children with fresh produce, particularly during the summer months when kids are out of school,” said Brighter Bites Executive Director Samuel Newman. “Since Brighter Bites established our New York City program in 2017 with City Harvest and D’Arrigo, we’ve been blown away by the kids’ response to trying different kinds of fresh fruits and veggies–often for the first time–and we’re so pleased to be continuing this important work throughout the summer months with these same partners.”
Brighter Bites measures the outcomes of its program to determine impact. Research shows the Brighter Bites model provides consistent opportunities for children and their families to practice healthier behaviors in school and at home:
- 98% of Brighter Bites parents report their children eating more fruits and vegetables while participating in the Brighter Bites program.
- Of those, 74% said they maintained that increased level of consumption after Brighter Bites ended.
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 17 million pounds of produce and 100,000s of nutrition education materials to more than 40,000 families and teachers in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area, and Southwest Florida. To learn more about Brighter Bites visit BrighterBites.org.
About City Harvest
City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the more than 1.2 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. We will rescue 61 million pounds of food this year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community partners across the five boroughs. Our programs help food-insecure New Yorkers access nutritious food that fits their needs and desires; increase partners’ capacity; and strengthen the local food system, building a path to a food-secure future for all New Yorkers. To learn more, visit CityHarvest.org.
About D’Arrigo Bros. of New York
Family-owned and operated, D’Arrigo Bros. of New York, Inc. has served the New York Metropolitan area for over 50 years, offering a full line of the highest quality fruit and vegetable items available every day of the week. The company is located in a 75,000-square foot. facility in the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx. D’Arrigo takes pride in offering its customers the highest quality produce that can be found anywhere. To learn more, visit D’ArrigoNY.com