FoodHealth & Wellness

What is Eat Better, Live Better?

Interview with CEO/Founder- Debra Tendrich

I sat down with the CEO and Founder of the nonprofit Eat Better, Live Better in beautiful downtown Delray Beach at the newly opened “The Ray” hotel rooftop Rosewater. I wanted to find out how a single mother has created, served, and sorted over 1 million pounds of fresh produce to low-income communities suffering with food insecurity. Understanding who partners with Eat Better, Live Better and what programs this nonprofit has instituted within our school systems to eradicate food scarcity intrigued me and made me curious. Our meeting on rooftop Rosewater was recorded for television production for educational television by Gemini Media and our one hour sit down unveiled the local and national laws that surround low-income scarcity, generational wealth barriers, and unveiled solutions to move this agenda forward.

Debra Tendrich, the CEO and founder of Eat Better, Live Better and our Healthy Family Palm Beach Magazine June 2022 cover arrived for her magazine interview smiling and ready to talk about how to create a Healthy Family dynamic by creating programs and educational tools to improve the understanding that you are what you eat and to let us all know, “If you are hungry for basic needs this will keep you from working on your dreams.” I wanted Debra to define for us all what is Eat Better, Live Better foundation and what does this 501.C3 mean to the South Florida community is serves.

 

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  • Q: Thank you for joining us today at Rosewater Rooftop where this hotel employs many local residents and offers economic opportunity here in Delray Beach, FL. It takes every member of our community to be successful and your focus is to eradicate food scarcity that is felt in our low-income communities, tell us Debra, what is Eat Better, Live Better’s purpose?
  • A: Eat Better, Live Better is a way of life. Our purpose is to create access and generational habits for health and wellness in communities. Low-income homes at times have no access to healthy food and no transportation. The community is forced to eat at corner stores and mini mart offerings. I see a solution in creating inside gardens at home and offering seeds to grow. Our towns should plant trees that provide fruit and vegetables in community gardens. Eat Better, Live Better purchases from partners that we are able to order and purchase at wholesale pricing. It has become more difficult to get produce due to COVID and prices of fuel and supply and demand chain shortages as well as farming was hit hard during the pandemic and the pricing of all fruits and vegetables have gone up with inflation. What separates us from other foundations is our charity will not go to a grocery store to rescue the produce. The lag time on shelf life, the food will spoil. We purchase and distribute the same day. We serve with dignity.
  • Q: How are the recipients of the program identified?
  • A. Identified by faith-based organizations, policing departments, senior center, other community leaders who identify as food insecure, as well as you can find us on 211.
  • Q: How is the fresh produce and groceries handled once they arrive at your facility?
  • A:  All the produce at our facility in Delray Beach will be sorted and bagged by our volunteers of 100 or more, with a core group of 25 dedicated individuals who give their time. Ranging in age from age 2 to 89 years old. We fill white grocery bags sized for a family of 1-3, typically seniors or single mom, 4-7 family members or then 8 or more.  There are 2 main groups of families that we identify.  There are the “working but cannot afford groceries” group. We find that they are skipping meals, rationing their food, rotating between eating and paying their bills. Then there are the “Fixed income seniors who cannot get work”. There may be a disability or mental illness precluding them from working. We find that within this group, they are being priced out of their home or life with little to no family to count on, and food becomes a dire need.
  • Q: What can you tell me about Generational Wealth and how these factors into food scarcity?
  • A: Generational wealth will keep you in the same situation as everyone you know. There are no choices and the options to move from one socio economic background to the next can feel as fleeting as the groceries found on the shelf.
  • Q: What is the effect of mental hunger on parents and their children?  Can you share with us an experience you have had while delivering groceries to those without transportation. 
  • A: Mental health hunger effects on children and the effects on the parents that take care of those children are profound. We delivered groceries to this one family in Delray Beach as it happened one of the recipients was a 4 year old girl and it was her birthday. I was struck in the heart when she thanked me for the gift of food, she thought her birthday gift was the groceries being brought to that family. It leveled me as no child should have to worry about food. I move forward in my mission and vision because you cannot unsee that need and the anguish that comes for your bones when the impact in our community is a non transitional out of poverty. 
  • Q: The laws for quality of food for low income is not a national law. What if anything can you or the community do to make a bridge or create solution for low income and food scarcity. 
  • A: This may be my thesis for law school. I am currently in school and working towards a degree in Public Interest in Civil Right Law. Making cohesive change and working to eradicate poverty will have to come from a National Platform. 
  • Q: Why do they call you the comeback kid?
  • A: I am the comeback kid, with my “whatever, next” mentality. There is always a way.
  • Q: Let’s talk about food distribution. Who do you partner with and why?
  • A: We partner with the Delray Beach Community Police, they help deliver into the community . This builds trust, a bridge to let people know that our law enforcement is here for our community and the police in Delray show up everywhere. They have an ice cream truck, I asked if they could change it to an açai truck. Seriously though, working hand in hand to create change is what this is all about. We are looking to partner with corporations for funding, volunteerism, and awareness. I feel that local business has the obligation to support the community. A give back. Business can volunteer, distribute, fund, partner, monthly donation, host a food drive, or a fund raiser. Our youngest volunteers are productive in the education to give back. We work with camps to decorate and bring food to fill the bag to donate. We drop into ongoing camps in south Florida and teach how empathy cures and heals and get’s them in the mindset that every effort is counted and how their individual efforts can create change. We are working behind the scenes to partner with non profit to fill fridges for new residents in low income housing. Housing being built by national contributors creating solutions for houseless and homeless partnering with Eat Better, Live Better to heal food scarcity and create a Healthy Family here in Palm Beach.
  • Q: You have several programs that you implement into ongoing school programs. Tell me all about Superpower Snack Packs and who you are collaborating with?
  • A: Superpower snack packs (Sp-Sp)- In 2022 we launched and are looking to expand. KOP kids mentoring and Cason United Methodist Church are our partners. We drop off healthy snack packs to all the kids with a healthy activity sheet that informs in a fun way how food is used for brain and body fuel. Living Hungry is a nonprofit that partners with us and gives pack to the children so they can eat over the weekend. And Eat Better, Live Better gives snacks during the week. As an overview, 9 out of 15 kids are homeless in that program. 
  • Q: You began hitting major goals in January 2022. How many pounds of groceries did Eat Better, Live better feed?
  • A: Eat Better, Live Better has delivered over 1 million pounds of groceries. We hit that goal January 2022. Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) during pandemic the funding opportunities with COVID relief were helpful as the need rose off the chart. Since the end of COVID relief for food scarcity, we have seen the need rise and pricing rise. This country is still in a financial crises and needs bridge funding to fill the gaps of low income residents. We always see at the end of the school year more families in need. Public schools feeds 2 meals a day. This is where I see that a bridge gap program is needed. Hunger is not having access to nutrient rich food. Malnutrition. Performance. Health. Energy. Mental Health, the food access is making you sick. If you look at kids who don’t have food, more stress, anxiety, depression make it more likely to drop out. Open an empty fridge; you feel fears insecure, shame, self-doubt. No one talks about hunger it becomes their dark secret. When your a parent who cannot provide, this propels the cycle of poverty. There should be access and opportunity for everyone. Crime is more prevalent where food insecurity is involved. The community should invest in hiring within. Employ local workers to stimulate the economy.
  •                                     “We serve with dignity.” – Debra Tendrich

 

  • Q: You wrote a petition wanting to warn and inform the consumer about harmful ingredients in their food. Where can that information be found?
  • A: warntheconsumer.com . You can find the petition there that I believe packages should require warning labels comparing harmful ingredients in your food. Feeding ourselves and our community is the drive to lead with impact. The direct funding would feed the hunger of the programs themselves
  • .Q: How many children have you reached with curriculums that Eat Better, Live Better created in implemented for upcoming summer camps?  
  • A: We have created curriculum that is implanted into ongoing youth summer camp programs. To date, we have worked with over 10K children.
  • Q; Mother’s Day was a little while ago. What did that look like in your community of Eat Better, Live Better?
  • A. Mother’s Day in our community had food distribution on May 6th to ensure that our families are supporting and fed for Mother’s Day. Our bags will contain fresh groceries and produce. Our foundation has hosted and annual 5K run, but this year we could not take our focus off of feeding. We are certain next year with our ongoing  funding campaigns that we are hoping to secure this year , that programs that enrich our community will return. 
  • Q: What programs does Eat Better, Live Better host to support staff in local schools?
  • A. During the school year you host a yearly event called,  ‘teacher’s giving’ which brings fresh turkeys and product to the supporting staff such as teachers, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers. 
  • Q: You work in corporate circles to educate and fundraise. Tell me about the biphotonic OC Scanner and what the results yield?
  • A: The biphotonic OC scanner is blue light technology to scan the hand and will tell us how many antioxidants are in the body. Sleeping, stress, fluids, are all measured, and this tool evaluates healthy and unhealthy parts of your life. In essence, educations you and wanting to do better. This machine takes body image out of health. We go into corporations, and we create tips on healthy lifestyle.  We fundraise and share our mission and parents take these tools home to the kids. 
  • Q: In what other ways does Eat Better, Live Better help the community?
  • A: We are always identifying barriers and hurdles, such as health insurance, how to fill out forms for food stamps,  trouble paying bills, domestic violence, and other issues that arise in low income households. Our network of resources that we then refer to the families. Our families tell us what they need, we are always here for them.
  • .Q: How can a family sign up to receive your services?
  •  A: Online applications are available at www.EBLB.org . Or they can come in to fill out an application in person at our location in Delray Beach.
  • The address is: 14451 S. Military Trail, Suite 2, Delray Beach, FL 33484

For more information please visit   authorlisaray.com

Lisa Ray
Latest posts by Lisa Ray (see all)

Lisa Ray

MEDIA HOST, BOOK AUTHOR AWAKEN & ACHIEVE LOVE YOUR HATERS CALLED TO SPEAK, LEAD, & IMPACT Spotify Podcast Host: Move Your Life Forward Senior Event Producer Gemini Media Marketing Lisa Ray is an on air personality in South Florida with Several Multimedia Groups. Creating digital content for Authors, Coaches, Speakers, and Branding. Her on camera work can be seen live while hosting red carpet production and as the host on stage at charity functions such as events like the Proper Affair benefitting the Achievement Centers, Rising Star and SIMA Awards, International Film And Music Festivals Gemini Media Marketing is a culmination of production including video bio, podcast video and audio taping, digital headshots both on location and in studio. Gemini Media Marketing produced and edited all interviews with talent that included Antonio Banderas, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Gabby Bernstein, Wally Lamb, and years of numerous celebrity and influencers. Most recently Ted-Talk Miami. A NAPTE press corp. Associate and Art Basel producer of these events placed her interviews with legendary House of Biba icon, Barbara Hulancki on the cover of FLLFW magazine when Lisa sat editor 2018 2020. Lisa is written editorials can be seen in Associated Press publications such as Epoch Times. Hyper local publications in Florida, Metropolitan Magazine, Palm Beach and Healthy Family Palm Beach. Her work hosting national brands launch such as Macy’s who work together for large scale events and festivals call on Lisa’s expertise.

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