Sabra Expands Efforts to Alleviate Food Deserts Bringing “Wellness Wednesdays” to the Bronx

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 21, 2017 – Sabra CEO Shali Shalit-Shoval today announced the expansion of Sabra’s Plants with a Purpose, a community engagement initiative dedicated to helping alleviate the impact of food deserts in the United States. Sabra will partner with The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) to bring Wellness Wednesdays to the Bronx community in 2018. This announcement coincides with Sabra’s Earth Day Employee volunteer Day of Service across locations, including corporate headquarters in White Plains, NY. The Bronx is home to nearly 1 million people living in food deserts.

Wellness Wednesdays at NYBG will offer students, teachers, and families from the Bronx and throughout New York City free access to hands-on gardening and wellness activities helping ensure a healthier future for low-income, minority youth. Wellness Wednesdays include Hands-On Gardening, Community Engagement, Nutrition Education, Cooking Demonstrations, Access to Fresh Produce, Health Screenings, and Walking Trails open to the public.

“Sabra’s mission is to introduce fresh new ways of eating and connecting by making healthful and flavorful food more accessible to more people,” said Shalit-Shoval. “For many, access to fresh produce is out of reach and we are committed to empowering those making positive and sustainable changes. The pilot launch of Plants with a Purpose last year was an inspiring success, yielding meaningful results for our community in Virginia. Today, we are proud to begin playing a role in New York with a commitment to fostering effective community-driven initiatives like The New York Botanical Garden’s Wellness Wednesdays. We look forward to engaging with our neighbors and working together to grow and use fresh food in a variety of delicious ways.”

“NYBG is pleased to partner with Sabra to increase knowledge around the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and remove barriers to access a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. James Boyer, Savros Niarchos Foundation VP for Children’s Education, The New York Botanical Garden. “Our shared goal is to educate urban youth on the importance of plants as a source of food and provide health and nutrition enrichment opportunities to families in the surrounding community. Specifically, through Wellness Wednesdays, when the Garden is open for free to Bronx and NYC residents, Sabra will help bring people together through hands-on experiences with fresh food and the opportunity to explore nature through outdoor play.”

Now in its second year, Sabra’s “Plants with a Purpose” initiative aims to empower local organizations providing comprehensive resources to families in food deserts, based on the belief that through such partnerships Sabra can positively impact long-term changes. Efforts are focused on supporting partners with proven track records in increasing access to affordable fresh produce and to nutrition and culinary educational opportunities to families living in food deserts.

In Virginia, Sabra will continue its partnership with Renew Richmond, a non-profit dedicated to urban agriculture in underserved VA communities, to expand an organic employee workshare garden at Sabra’s Gold LEED certified hummus manufacturing facility. Sabra and Renew Richmond will also work together to further increase fresh food distribution, nutrition and culinary education throughout the region.

Sabra’s goal of expanding the program each year will be met in 2017 through:

– Partnership with NYBG in Bronx, NY
– Earth Day Volunteer Day of Service/ for Sabra employees in all locations: New York, California and Virginia
– A springtime expansion of Sabra’s Virginia on-campus employee garden
– Planting and support for new local community gardens in VA
– Nutrition and culinary education workshops in underserved communities
– Expanded product donations

Food deserts, as defined by the USDA, are neighborhoods and towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, affordable food (specifically fruits and vegetables). It is estimated that more than 23 million Americans live in impacted areas. Sabra Dipping Company is the maker of America’s best-selling hummus and a range of dips and spreads, and their commitment to “Plants with a Purpose” aligns with a vision of bringing people together through fresh food experiences.

Sabra is one of the first companies in the U.S. to make this the sole focus of its CSR efforts. Mission aligned and with employee feedback, Sabra selected Food Desert solutions and is setting a goal to be a corporate leader and catalyst to bring more attention and dedication to the cause.