The Brighter Bites application for
school year 2021-2022 is now closed. For new schools applying in Los Angeles, please contact Katherine McMahon.
Please reach out to your city contact below with any questions.
I’m interested in hosting Brighter Bites next school year, but what are the requirements?
Does my site qualify for Brighter Bites?
A site qualifies for Brighter Bites if one of the following is true:
1) 80% or more students/campers receive free or reduced lunch.
2) The site receives Title I funding.
3) 75% or more students/campers live below the national poverty line.
*Please note that additional geographic requirements may be applicable. If you have questions about your site’s eligibility, please contact the appropriate city director above.
Who can sign up for Brighter Bites after a school has been accepted?
All families at your site are eligible to participate in the program, regardless of income-level. Some schools may restrict participation to certain grade levels, based on the capacity of the school. Brighter Bites’ produce distributions are modeled after a food co-op or cooperative in which all members contribute, in some way or another, to building a community of health through fresh food. Families contribute by volunteering, taking time to speak with us at distribution about the health benefits of eating fresh produce and how to cook what is in the bags, and using the produce at home while talking to their kids about health! School administrators, faculty, and staff play a different role. Please read our Staff Participation Policy to learn more about their roles.
What is CATCH?
CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is an evidence-based coordinated health program that has been shown to prevent childhood obesity and launch kids and communities toward healthier lifestyles. CATCH impacts a child’s nutrition knowledge, level of physical activity, classroom environment, and community, by making healthy decisions easy and fun. This coordinated curriculum engages all stakeholders of a child’s life including: parents, teachers, administrative staff, PE coaches, cafeteria staff, and the larger school community. CATCH “Coordination Kits” provide easy access for schools and childcare programs to use the program effectively across all disciplines.
If you’d like more information about CATCH, visit their website or YouTube channel.
How does Brighter Bites relate to CATCH?
Brighter Bites produce boxes help families apply the nutrition ideas at home that kids learn during CATCH lessons. Our nutrition education handbooks and nutrition education materials for parents also incorporate CATCH concepts, enabling families to support what their child is learning in the classroom.
What is a Wellness Committee?
Your school’s Wellness Committee is the group that will spearhead your coordinated school health efforts. It is made up of one strong, motivated Wellness Champion, who will act as the team lead, and several supporting committee members. Your Wellness Champion’s role in the committee is like the Principal’s role for the school. They don’t do everything, but they oversee activities to ensure that the CATCH curriculum is being implemented. The supporting members of the Wellness Committee should represent differing areas of specialty within the school and have an interest in health and should actively help in the implementation of the nutrition education curriculum.
How do I form a Wellness Committee?
To build an effective Wellness team, you will work with your Principal to create a standing committee. You will need to choose a variety of representatives who are enthusiastic and want to actively participate in the school’s Wellness initiatives and inspire others to implement the school health components. Look for that teacher who is always running in a 5K, or the counselor that brings in fresh veggies from their garden. If you already have a committee focused on health and wellness who would like to support CATCH implementation, even better!
What is the Brighter Bites-CATCH Checklist mentioned under the Nutrition Education Requirements?
The principal or director plays an integral role in the successful implementation of Brighter Bites. Without their active support and oversight, we just can’t do it! Click here to review the checklist.
I’m a teacher with a CATCH Digital login but I can’t remember how to log in and find my lessons.
Visit https://catch.org/users/sign_in to sign in and it will take you to a dashboard where you can easily navigate to find your lessons. Ask your site’s assigned Brighter Bites Program Coordinator for more help should you need it. Remember to track your lessons so that we can measure the impact you and your team members are having on your student’s knowledge about nutrition.
What is a Produce Activity?
A Produce Activity is a nutrition activity taught in the classroom using a set of Brighter Bites boxes. Typically, Brighter Bites secures a fixed number of produce boxes for each school, camp, or community center. Brighter Bites will provide produce boxes to teachers and staff who play an active role in our program, after ensuring that the needs of the students and their families are met. We encourage teachers to utilize their produce boxes in class to conduct Brighter Bites produce activities or to offer a digital produce activity experience for their students through our video library. Remember to track them as well!
How can other school staff participate in the Brighter Bites co-op model?
School staff (including, but not limited to: administrators, office workers, teacher aids, assistants, reading specialists, nurses, janitorial or cafeteria staff) must also contribute to the co-op in order to receive boxes. They can participate by volunteering at the distribution of the produce, helping Brighter Bites’ staff deliver produce boxes to faculty when available who are conducting Produce Activities and teaching CATCH/YUM lessons, or helping our team and the school by taking home extra boxes if there are unclaimed boxes at the end of the distribution window.
Where does the produce come from?
Brighter Bites partners with food banks and other organizations to provide fresh produce for our families. Most of the produce we receive is donated from wholesalers, farmers, and other retailers across the country.
Why are some of the items in my boxes split open/cut/bruised/moldy/rotten/etc.?
Because our produce is mostly donated, it may not always look perfect. Often, the donated fruits and veggies are perfectly edible and nutritious but not “pretty” enough to be sold in a grocery store. Some fruits and veggies may be “weird-looking,” very ripe, or have small bruises. These items are still okay!
Please understand that we follow guidelines from the food banks and Feeding America to determine which produce is acceptable to eat and which is not. We work with volunteers during the bagging process to make sure that any moldy or rotten produce is NOT put in boxes. However, sometimes things slip through unnoticed, and we apologize in advance for that. Feel free to come check with Brighter Bites staff about whether a produce item is rotten or just “different” and still edible. If you did get an item that is rotten, Brighter Bites staff will gladly replace it with an alternate item, depending on availability.