+Box meal program helps feed families in Solana Beach, Encinitas

 +BOX kits have been distributed
Since early April 2020, more than 1,800 +BOX kits have been distributed, side by side with local school districts’ meal programs.
(Diana Sciacca

Serving the community has taken on a new meaning for local business owners Marie and Jaime Brawn, operators of local catering company Root Cellar Catering and Homestead cafe/market in Solana Beach. In the midst of keeping their businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brawns and their partners The Burt Family Foundation created +Box, a collaborative initiative providing essential nutrition to K-12 families in their local school districts free of charge.

The Burt Family Foundation is a nonprofit based in San Diego and Austin founded by Del Mar residents Gregg and Donna Burt. With an emphasis on underserved children and their families, the foundation focuses resources on organizations and projects that are dedicated to quality after-school programming, food insecurity and access to quality healthcare. The Burt Family Foundation is led by Encinitas resident Wesley Burt, an entrepreneur and program management executive in the education technology industry.

Since early April, more than 1,800 +BOX kits have been distributed, side by side with the existing local school districts for families on the reduced lunch program. +Box began a partnership with the Encinitas Union School District and as the school year ended and the need for access to healthy meals grew +Box added both the Carlsbad and Solana Beach school districts to its distribution.

The + Box model is also zero waste with unsold produce from Homestead’s market and provisions placed in the boxes. The Brauns hope to grow +Box into a 1:1 charity, such as the Tom’s model, where for every box purchased a family will receive a box.

To learn more, visit