New partnership targets food desert surrounding Dogan ES

Sunny skies and a warm May morning helped usher in a new partnership that aims to battle food insecurity in the Greater Fifth Ward neighborhood surrounding Dogan Elementary School.

At a launch event on Friday at the school, the Houston Independent School District announced the partnership, which teams up local nonprofit Brighter Bites with the American Federation of Teachers, the Houston Federation of Teachers, and Houston Educational Support Personnel. The partnership hopes to address food equity issues and access to healthy food in the surrounding neighborhood.

The solution? A food distribution at Dogan—open to anyone in need from the community—offering fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as clothing and other supplies on a biweekly basis.

And, as Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan said at the event, it’s a partnership that highlights each organization’s common goal: to serve Houston’s students.

“We can work together as a team to come up with a solution,” Lathan said. “And today is a solution.”

That solution is one that is needed in the neighborhood, according to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, but also by students throughout Houston and the nation.

“What community project is more important this year than feeding people?” Weingarten asked the crowd. “We need to do things that feed people, that give them fresh food. That’s how we make a difference.”

Also present at the inaugural distribution were Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston Councilmember District B Tarsha Jackson, HISD District II Trustee Kathy Blueford Daniels, Houston Federation of Teachers President Jackie Anderson, Houston Educational Support Personnel President Wretha Thomas, and Dogan Elementary School Principal Margarita Tovar.

As the pandemic continues to affect schools, students, and their families, the partnership was an easy decision for Brighter Bites co-founder Dr. Shreela Sharma.

“Our motto at Brighter Bites is that the better you nourish, the brighter you flourish,” Dr. Sharma said. “Our families deserve and need us more than ever.”

For more information on Brighter Bites and its distribution, go to