Happy New Year.
Over the holiday break, the +BOX team had an opportunity to reflect on 2021, what we were able to accomplish, and what we should stop, start, and continue doing to improve the program and maximize its impact on our community. We’d like to share some of our reflections.
First, I’d like to recognize and thank the +BOX team (Dani, Daniel, & Greg), our amazing volunteers, and our great partners. Together, we distributed 19,275 boxes with 78,450 servings and over 230,000 pounds of healthy food to families in our community who don’t have enough food to meet their basic needs. Maybe more importantly, we provided food insecure families with healthy food in 49 of 52 weeks during 2021. Reliable access to healthy food is critical to fighting food insecurity, and I’m proud of the fight +BOX put up in 2021.
Alas, the fight will continue in 2022. More than 1 million people in San Diego County are food insecure (1 in 3 people). That means there are more than 1 million human beings who live here, in our community, who don’t have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. Put more simply, 1 out of every 3 people you encounter don’t have enough food to eat. Almost 250,000 of them are children.
In large part, as a society, we have either accepted or ignored this reality. We have decided that it’s not a problem our public or private institutions should solve (because they could, easily). We have deferred responsibility for this problem to charitable individuals and organizations, but unfortunately, we haven’t been able to adequately address the need. The San Diego Hunger Coalition estimates a monthly meal gap of 13.8 million meals, after accounting for existing food assistance programs. So, 285,000 kids in San Diego County are likely to miss meals this week, and next week, and the following week, and so on.
The +BOX team doesn’t believe that this is acceptable. We believe that everyone deserves the essential resources (healthy food, clean water, housing, education, etc.) necessary for a healthy and dignified life. More to the point, we believe that food is a human right. So we’re focusing +BOX on delivering reliable access to healthy food for our food insecure neighbors. It’s that simple.
This isn’t a pivot, but a re-commitment to our core values, our passion, and our beliefs, which will guide our work in 2022.
In demonstration of these values, +BOX kicked-off 2022 by adding a new school community to our weekly distribution schedule. Every Friday, +BOX will distribute 100 boxes to students and families at Bella Mente Academies, a pair of public charter schools in Vista. With the addition of Bella Mente, +BOX is supporting 500 households every week in Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Vista. Over the coming months, we will continue to look for opportunities to expand our impact, improve our program, and help more of our neighbors with reliable access to healthy food. But, we can’t do it without your help.
In 2022, we will need those of you who share our beliefs, our values, and our passion to join us in this fight. We will need to ask you for your time, talent, and treasure. We hope to see you out there!