Newsletter: Mar 27, 2022

Keeping Delray Youth Healthy and Well Fed

Delray Beach is home to a diverse group of non-profits focused on the needs of our at-risk youth. One group, “Eat Better Live Better”, is having a major impact on hunger and nutrition here in the community. Recently, Friends Of Delray sat down with founder and executive director Debra Tendrich to share some insights on what EBLB is doing here in Delray.

Friends Of Delray: Good morning Debra, thanks so much for chatting with us today!

Debra Tendrich: Happy to be here this morning!

Friends Of Delray: “What was the catalyst, the spark if you will, that inspired you to found Eat Better Live Better?”

Debra Tendrich: I was an obese child that became an obese adult.  In 2013 II experienced my own weight loss transformation and lost 70 pounds. In addition, I also reversed my daughter's medical conditions with just food.  It turns out that I inspired a lot of people to get healthy, just by having them see my own transformation right before their eyes. One of my favorite sayings is "Change inspires change. The more change we create, the more change we inspire." That is why in 2016, I decided to develop a curriculum to teach kids to eat better and live better and founded my organization.

Friends Of Delray: The USDA estimates that 38 million Americans including 12 million children are suffering with food insecurity. Currently, 14% of Delray’s population is under the age of 18. Where does Delray Beach stand as it relates to food insecurity

Debra Tendrick: Unfortunately, those statistics are true. There are many factors that come into play when discussing food insecurity.  For instance, one big factor is access to healthy food. We have a neighborhood called the Set, which is classified as a "food desert". A food dessert is an area that does not have a full-service grocery store or access to nutrient-dense and affordable foods.

Food insecurity is more than just not having food, it is not having access to nutritious foods.  That is why Grocery stores are so important- they provide communities with access to healthy and nutritious food at an affordable rate.

Over the past several years of providing healthy groceries to the community, I have noticed that we've had a rise in families that are seeking our help for grocery assistance. Many Delray families, including families with children to senior citizens are struggling with food insecurity. Currently, with inflation at a 40-year high, we have had a rise in our neighbors needing even more help than ever before.

On top of inflation, the lack of affordable housing has also created a tremendous problem for those living paycheck to paycheck.  Our families cannot keep up with the rising gas prices, the increased cost of food, and their everyday living expenses.

Friends Of Delray: What are the effects of poor nutrition on children?

Debra Tendrich: This is a serious question as poor nutrition is plaguing our youth, not just in Delray, but nationwide. I call poor nutrition a convenient epidemic because you can find these unhealthy foods and snacks everywhere!

In fact, poor nutrition is the reason why children are being diagnosed with heart disease and diabetes younger than ever before.  Poor nutrition affects a child's mental health, brain development, oral health, immune system, cognitive behavior, self-esteem, and even their education.  

Statistically, obese children are more likely to drop out of school and experience bullying.

Friends Of Delray: What are some of the key programs that EBLB provides the Delray Beach community?

Debra Tendrich: Grocery Assistance Program (GAP) Currently, we are in a food crisis. Our GAP program has provided over 1 million pounds of healthy groceries and fresh produce to our local families. Many families skip meals, do not eat, or only purchase unhealthy foods due to financial reasons and access. That is why, at Eat Better Live Better, we feed with dignity.

Super Power Snack Pack Program: We launched a program that provides healthy snacks to children called the Super Power Snack Pack program.  Instead of children snacking on chips and cookies, let up provide each child with snack packs full of fresh fruit and healthy treats for the week.

Nutrition Education: We provide nutrition education to children and teach them to Eat Better and Live Better. Through our fun, interactive and hands-on program, children learn to be nutritionally responsible, understand what eating healthy means and make better food choices. Additionally, they go home and teach their parents!

Antioxidant Scanner: We have a bio-photonic scanner that will tell you how many antioxidants are in your body on a cellular level.  This is a great tool for those who are trying to become healthier and want to know where they stand. We can bring this scanner to your business, school or event. We have found this to be a hit and can really help people get motivated to Eat Better and Live Better.

Teachers Giving: We surprise teachers and support staff of our local public schools with turkeys. Many teachers are paycheck to paycheck and through this program we can show our appreciation for commitment to our Delray children and take an expense off of their plate.

Friends Of Delray: How many families/individuals does EBLB serve?

Debra Tendrich: Monthly, we feed between 400 and 500 families. In addition to those families we help stock the shelves of food pantries in schools and host additional drive up food distributions in our neighborhoods. We serve between 35,000 and 50,000 people in a year.

Friends Of Delray: Such a large undertaking requires a lot of support. Tell us a little bit about your volunteers and the work they do.

Debra Tendrich: Volunteers are the heart of our organization. We have some of the most dedicated volunteers around. First, there is Bette who is our Volunteer Family Coordinator. She helps coordinate the families and gets them all set up to pick up their groceries or have it delivered to their doorstep.  We also have Debbie who is our Volunteer Coordinator.  She helps arrange the volunteers to come in, and help pack and sort the groceries and fresh produce.

We also have our regular volunteers who come in and make sure that the food is sorted, the grocery bags are packed and the shelves are stocked.

We are always in need of additional volunteers to help.  From admin work, to community outreach, and even delivering groceries to families without transportation, we love and need our volunteers.

Friends Of Delray:Staying on the subject of volunteers for a minute, what opportunities are there for the business community to get involved with EBLB?

Debra Tendrich: The business community has a huge opportunity to make a real difference with us.  There are countless ways for businesses to get involved in volunteer.

Volunteer Team Building Day: Businesses can spend an afternoon with us and help pack and distribute grocery bags.

Donation Boxes and Food Drives: Set up a donation box to collect either food or funds at your place of business and encourage your team, your clients, patients, family and colleagues to help us.

Sponsor: Delray Beach has an amazing business community. I know that it's hard for some businesses to come and spend their time volunteering, and it's ok. We also need financial support. Sponsoring a grocery distribution day, or an event like Teachers Giving is an amazing way to get involved with our organization and really make a difference in your own backyard.

Host a fundraiser: Host an event the benefits our organization and spread our mission. The more people who know about our great work, the more of an impact we can make.

Currently we have some amazing community partners including the Delray Beach Community Policing team who help us deliver healthy groceries to our local families. We also work with two Delray Beach Senior Resource Centers, local faith-based organizations and several other local businesses. These organizations not only support our efforts but help identify families for us to serve who are in true need of assistance.

Friends Of Delray: Recently EBLB celebrated accomplishing 1,000.000 pounds of food distributed in the community. First off, congratulations such a remarkable achievement. What are some goals EBLB has going forward?

Debra Tendrich: Of course, we want to distribute another one million pounds!  We also look to increase our collaborative efforts with the community and keep up with the rising demands of the need to feed.

We would also like to play a more active role in speaking to the community about health and nutrition and help resolve some of the infrastructural problems that are preventing the communities from being healthy.

Financially, we need to raise even more funds this year due to our rising costs from inflation and the increased demand for our program.

Our main goal, as always, is to continue to feed with dignity and show up when the community needs us.

Friends Of Delray: Before we wrap up, one last question. For those individuals looking to donate or volunteer, how do they connect with EBLB?

Debra Tendrich: Please contact us to get involved, or if you or someone you know is in need of our services. Eat Better Live Better - 14451 S Military Trail, Ste 2, Delray Beach, FL 33484561-344-1022 -

Friends Of Delray: Debra, thanks for taking the time to be with us today and educating the public on the remarkable impact Eat Better Live Better is having in the community

Debra Tendrich: Thanks so much for having us, we appreciate the opportunity to share our story and successes!

Best Regards,

The Friends Of Delray Board

Judy Mollica - President

Steve English - Treasurer

Gregg Weiss - Secretary

We use cookies to improve your experience and to help us understand how you use our site. Please refer to our cookie notice and privacy statement for more information regarding cookies and other third-party tracking that may be enabled.

Friends of Delray

Home | About Us | Stay Informed | Community | Podcast | Support | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

By providing your cell phone or mobile phone number you are consenting to receive texts, including autodialed and automated texts, to that number with campaign notifications from Friends of Delray, Inc. Recurring messages, msg & data rates may apply. Text message subscribers can reply STOP to opt out and reply HELP for Help. SMS data will not be sold, rented, or shared. See privacy policy and terms and conditions HERE. Contributions to Friends of Delray, Inc. are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

Intuit Mailchimp logo