Connor DeLoach, the Executive Director of Top Box Foods offers Baton Rouge and New Orleans an easier, budget-friendly way to eat healthy by selling a mouth-watering variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy products in convenient boxes.
Top Box Foods was founded in Chicago by Chris Kennedy and his wife Sheila Berner Kennedy to reach food-insecure communities that needed affordable and accessible food. At 19 years old, DeLoach got his start at the community-centered nonprofit as a volunteer at the Chicago location. Wanting to give back to those in need, he moved to Louisiana in 2013 to kickoff Top Box Foods as he transferred to Tulane University.
“While volunteering, I kind of fell in love with the program and wanted to take a bigger role,” says DeLoach. “So, I did a lot of research to figure out where there is a need for that same program. New Orleans really stood out as it was a city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.”
After their successful launch in New Orleans catering towards those suffering from a lack of basic food access, they extended a helping hand to Baton Rouge. For shoppers in Baton Rouge, fresh supplies are delivered every Monday and Thursday. To reach the largest audience possible, Top Box Foods offers a multitude of payment options on all items from credit card, debit, EBT, P-EBT, and DSNAP. Paying through EBT, P-EBT, or DSNAP gets you a 50 percent discount off the whole order. This discount is thanks to the help of Capital Area United Way, Healthy BR, and their partnerships with Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market.
On top of their day-to-day operations, the arrival of the holiday season signals an uptick in business. The holidays are notoriously times of giving to those in need of aid, and Top Box Foods wants to further their reach in the community by feeding our hungry friends, family, and neighbors. DeLoach’s exceptional team created the Community Food Share Program to help businesses, organizations, and funders that are focused on a specific demographic or wish to meet a certain need in their community to use Top Box Food’s program to purchase food in bulk. Having stocked up on resources, they can facilitate large-scale community distributions where food is donated for free.
“This year, we anticipate weekly events where we are participating in four or five large community food distributions to dole out anywhere between 400 to 1,000 boxes at any given time. We’re really excited,” shares DeLoach.
Of course, with these large-scale efforts, Top Box Foods relies on volunteers and information from the community to reach the hungry. Their volunteers help keep supplies running by helping out with in-office work, going with the hands-on approach by filling grocery boxes, or hitting the pavement doing deliveries.
If you know someone who struggles with food insecurity, be sure to spread the word. However, this isn’t your only option. Top Box Foods head a give-a-box program that is referral-based, so all donations on their website can directly put a box of food in the hands of someone in need.
“Overall, we’re a social business,” asserts DeLoach. “We’re designed to be self-sustaining based on community participation. The best thing that I can encourage anyone to do is to participate, spread the word, and let everyone know we are a resource with great options.”
By collaborating with phenomenal local producers to sell their amazing products, Top Box Foods is thriving as a business focused around making an added effort to help people be conscious about food shopping and investing both their time and money back into Louisiana. ■