In April of 2020, a group of caring, resourceful people came together to figure out how we could best support our community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Our diverse experiences led us to an innovative way to help schools provide healthy food to students and their families; a project we called Plus Box.
With seed funding from a generous foundation sponsor, we piloted the program at Oceans Knolls Elementary School in Encinitas with just 50 boxes. By the end of 2020, +BOX provided food insecure families with more than 8,500 boxes and 35,000 servings of fresh, healthy and nutritious foods alongside three school districts.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five families in San Diego County were food insecure. Now, one in three are facing food insecurity, and California is expected to experience the largest increase in the number of food insecure individuals in the country due to the pandemic. Existing public and community support services often lack sufficient capacity to address these overwhelming needs. In fact, the San Diego Hunger Coalition estimates a monthly meal gap of almost eight million meals, after accounting for existing food assistance programs.
This is where +BOX comes in, fighting food insecurity by working alongside school districts to add to school nutrition programs with healthy, nutrient rich foods for students and their families.
We’re a group of multi-talented, resourceful people who care about our neighbors.
+BOX is led by Wesley Burt, who brings advanced education in public policy and over 15 years of experience working with school districts and public sector organizations on creative solutions to improve community outcomes. Prior to +BOX, he was a founding member of LearnPlatform, a high growth education technology company committed to expanding equitable access to technology that works for all students. As Executive Director, Wesley is responsible for the sustainability, growth and strategic direction of +BOX.
Jamie and Marie Brawn, owners of Homestead Solana Beach and Root Cellar Catering Co., lead +BOX operations. Certified and well respected restaurateurs and caterers, they have 8 years of experience managing, operating and owning successful food service establishments. With an emphasis on nutrition and healthy alternatives, Executive Chef Jamie Brawn brings a real difference to the typical food products distributed to those in need.
Daniel Floyd, our Volunteer Coordinator, keeps the +BOX engine running. With an extensive background is sales and customer service in the food service industry, he manages day-to-day program execution and leads the +BOX volunteer program.
+BOX is managed by Equation Collaborative, a San Diego based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.