Supermarket chains H-E-B and Southeastern Grocers banner Winn-Dixie have joined forces with nonprofit organization Brighter Bites to help provide fresh produce for food-insecure families during the COVID-19 crisis.
To aid these families, Brighter Bites is giving $25 produce vouchers biweekly to every Brighter Bites household for fruit and vegetable purchases over the next two to three months at H-E-B and Winn-Dixie stores. The initiative targets 14,100 families In Houston and Austin, Texas, in partnership H-E-B, and 1,100 families in southwest Florida with Winn-Dixie.
“This is a time that our families need healthy food more than ever to boost their immune systems,” explained Brighter Bites CEO Rich Dachman. “When schools closed and our distribution model was interrupted, we knew we had to pivot our business. Brighter Bites will continue providing our families with fruits and vegetables through this program, allowing them to maintain the same level of produce in their homes as they did through Brighter Bites distributions. We could not have executed this program without the partnership of H-E-B, Southeastern Grocers, and Winn-Dixie. We are so grateful for their support.”
According to Dachman, Brighter Bites will also transition its online nutrition education programs to a distance-learning model.
The organization usually works with around 25,000 families across more than 100 schools in Houston; Dallas; Austin; New York City; the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area; and southwest Florida., with each family receiving 25 pounds of fresh, seasonal produce and nutrition education weekly. To sustain the voucher program for the next two to three months, Brighter Bites said that it will need to raise additional funding until the crisis ends.
With 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, San Antonio-based H-E-B is No. 6 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States. Winn-Dixie’s parent company, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Southeastern Grocers, operates more than 550 stores, employs some 45,000 workers, and is No. 13 on PG’s list.