VISTA, Calif. — A box doesn't have to be covered in wrapping paper to be considered a gift. In this Zevely Zone, I rode along with the non-profit organization +BOX which provides weekly boxes of nutrient-rich foods for students and their families.
"I like driving this big truck," said Dani Radford. She grew up with a single mom with five children who ate SpaghettiOs and mac and cheese. "I know it makes a difference," said Dani while driving a truck filled with boxes of food.
She is passionate about the non-profit organization +BOX because it delivers fresh produce to families living with food insecurity.
"Food sovereignty is one of my passions for sure. I use sovereignty instead of food security because it incorporates the intersectionalism of tackling this," said Dani. She is studying to get her masters in agroecology and believes the food system in America is broken.
+BOX is opening doors at the Vista Unified School District with a stable food source. "The first level of need is the basic resources do you have enough food and do you have shelter," said Kiki Bispo who leads the district's family and community engagement. How much does the food help? "It's immense," said Kiki who suggested I ask a mother of four, Isabel Hernandez, the same question. "It's amazing they are a great team," said Isabel.
We opened one +BOX and discovered all sorts of goodies; pasta, beans, zucchini, carrots, onions and potatoes. +BOX distributes 600 boxes a week. Our next stop? The Bella Mente Academies where we met Anthony Beaver. "I think it's a great thing especially for our communities our families. They really enjoy it, they ask for it, they want it, they need it," said Anthony.
We then spoke to Macarena Davis who is the school's community liaison. "This is a great way to feed our families, all of our community is so blessed to have this," said Macarena.
Dani Radford feels +BOX can help end hunger by connecting families with food, offering dignity 'plus' so much more. "I like to be able to go into the community and give them something that is a human right," said Dani.
According to +BOX, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in five people in San Diego County were food insecure. Now, one in three San Diegans experience food insecurity, which means they are unable to provide three nutritious meals per day for themselves or their families.
+BOX’s warehouse and distribution center is in Carlsbad. They are always looking for volunteers to participate in their Pack Outs – Monday through Thursday at 4:00 p.m. – where they assemble and pack-up boxes with healthy and nutritious ingredients for food insecure students and their families. For details, visit www.plus-box.org/volunteer.
+BOX is a 501c3 nonprofit that relies on the generosity of its supporters. Donors are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation. For more information, visit www.plus-box.org.
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