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Brighter Bites, Hardie’s distribute produce boxes to families in need

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Brighter Bites and Hardie’s Fresh Foods were able to ensure that current Brighter Bites’ Texas families continued to receive produce even after COVID-19 impacted their communities.

In Austin, Hardie’s and Brighter Bites ramped up its existing programming by almost doubling the numbers of families normally served during the school year — 5,150 boxes were distributed to 1,300 families every week over the course of six weeks. These boxes included over 87,000 pounds of fresh food, including onions, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, bananas, oranges, limes, cabbage, celery, potatoes and kale.

“Brighter Bites Austin is so grateful to Hardie’s for its support this spring during school closures,” said Brighter Bites Austin Senior Program Director Bethany Dawson. “Hardie’s stepped up to help as soon as the crisis hit by continuing to pack and deliver produce to 15 schools, serving thousands of families each week.”

Brighter Bites in Dallas also benefited from the Hardie’s partnership. Over the course of three weeks, the organizations packed and distributed 2,800 boxes to 2,800 families at various locations in the city each week. Boxes included approximately 56,000 pounds of fresh food, including zucchini, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, gala apples, and kale.

“Hardie’s was willing to meet our changing schedules, locations, and needs during those weeks in April and May,” said Brighter Bites Dallas Program Director Julie Macpherson. “Hardie’s personnel worked with us under a variety of physical circumstances as we delivered the boxes via curbside. Their team really went the extra mile.”

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.

“Hardie’s was pleased to be a part of this emergency initiative in Austin and Dallas,” said Greg Rowe, CEO of Dallas-based Hardie’s Fresh Foods. “Brighter Bites is an amazing organization and we value our partnership with them. It was a great privilege for all of us at Hardie’s to be a part of helping families in need during the challenging early weeks of the pandemic.” 

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