The Produce Moms Podcast Episode 2

Why Fresh Produce is Changing LIves with Lisa Helfman, Founder of Brighter Bites

“There’s a disconnect on how food affects our health. I want to be having that conversation, so people understand what a direct impact it has”

For several years, Lisa Helfman and her family took part in a weekly fruit and vegetable co-op, and she watched her children’s eating habits dramatically transform. One time in particular stands out when her little boy turned down a piece of cake at a birthday party, craving instead the blueberries he’d grown fond of eating at home.

“We believe that our only goal is to make an impact”

Like most moms, Lisa realized this was a fairly significant decision for a six-year-old, and she wondered what kind of influence regular access to fresh produce might have on all children. Especially if that produce was free to families.

“You can be empowered to take control of your health and live a happier healthier life by eating right – and the key to eating right is fresh produce”

She was inspired to replicate this type of positive change in underserved communities identified as “food deserts,” or areas where access to grocery stores stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables is sorely limited. Because nutrition education in these communities is often equally lacking, Lisa’s vision was to bring a produce co-op to schools in these neighborhoods that included an educational component.

“People are sick in our community and they could be healthy just by eating right”

She created a collaborative partnership between the Houston Food Bank and Dr. Shreela Sharma, an expert in nutrition and a professor of epidemiology at UTHealth School of Public Health, and they launched the program now known as Brighter Bites. Four years later, Brighter Bites has delivered more than 8,000,000 pounds of fresh produce to over 20,000 families at over 90 sites in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.

When she isn’t pushing kids to eat kale smoothies, Lisa is Director of Real Estate for H-E-B and is working on the company’s significant expansion in Houston. Prior to joining H-E-B, Lisa served as Director of Real Estate Services at Texas Children’s Hospital where she created the Real Estate Services Department in order to centralize the hospital’s real estate operations. Lisa worked at Texas Children’s for seven years after leaving Vinson & Elkins where she represented many urban redevelopment clients, non-profits, and government entities in financings, real estate, and other general matters. Lisa received her JD from University of Houston Law Center and her BA from Tulane University.

Some Topics we talk about in this episode:

  • Introduction // Lisa Helfman – 0:45
  • Give Healthy Food Drive – 2:05
  • How Brighter Bites got started – 3:15
  • Why Fresh Food? – 5:09
  • Brighter Bites and the “Access Issue” – 6:40
  • Brighter Bites Programs – 11:30
  • Integration with schools and kids – 14:30
  • The Bright Bites Audience – 17:15
  • The Myth of Food Shortage – 24:12
  • How Brighter Bites is Changing Lives – 27:00
  • How You Can Get Involved – 32:20
  • Wrap-up – 35:29

We are hosting a “Give Healthy” Food Drive to support the amazing work that Lisa and her team at Brighter Bites are doing. Text the words “Give Healthy” to 55498

Give Healthy

We will send you a link to the “Give Healthy” Food Drive as well as the Brighter Bites Wish List!

For more information, visit www.brighterbites.org

How to get involved

If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe and leave a quick review on iTunes. It would mean the world to hear your feedback and we’d love for you to help us spread the word!

Check out #TheProduceMoms #Podcast, Episode 2 featuring Lisa Helfman, Founder and Board Chair of @BrighterBites . Click To Tweet

Episode 2

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