Little Red Box is all about Good Food. For All. We are reimagining the old model of grocery retail – think of us as a neighborhood bodega meets curbside pick-up, with a focus on community engagement and empowerment – in order to eradicate food deserts.

 

 

The Issue

Approximately 40 million Americans, including 5 million Texans, live in communities with low access to fresh and healthy foods and high access to unhealthy alternatives, and where a trip to the grocery store is oftentimes a tradeoff between convenience, cost, and choice. These areas are called food deserts, and their very existence is unacceptable.

 

Why? Because universal access to good food is integral to the vitality of all communities. Good food doesn’t just nourish bodies and minds, it can spur new investment into our neighborhoods and prove once and for all that food deserts don’t have to exist if we let imagination and innovation prevail. If there was ever a time to prioritize access – and action – it is now.

 

We’re starting with one brick-and-mortar store in Galveston’s North of Broadway neighborhood, and will steadily expand until the conversation is no longer ‘Why is this?’, but rather ‘What can this become?’ Join us.  

 

A 'Little' Back Story

The Little Red Box was once a thing that turned into an idea. In 1898, a newly-arrived immigrant opened up Joe Lung Café on what is now Sixth Street and San Jacinto in downtown Austin.

 

On Fridays, farm families would sell their produce and bring ‘Grandpa Joe’ money for safekeeping in his trademark 'little red box,' which he would use to lend to folks who couldn’t go to the banks, especially minorities. All was done on a handshake; he never lost a dime for his generosity.

 

Grandpa Joe was my great grandfather, and the values exhibited in his story - kindness, equity, trust - were foundational to the idea of this version of the Little Red Box. They are our way to carry on his legacy of access.  

 

- Sam Newman, founder

Our Team

  • Samuel Newman

    Sam has spent over a decade working in food and grocery retail, serving in leadership capacities at both H-E-B and with national nonprofit Brighter Bites, where he helped to design and implement innovative efforts that improved access, affordability, and quality of food for low-income households in under-resourced communities. Sam is the founder and shopkeeper.

  • Neeraj Tandon

    Neeraj is a technology and data consulting expert whose work focuses on serving civic, public, and private sector partnerships built for social impact. He is also the founder of a non-profit that teaches coding to children with limited access to technology classes.  He holds degrees in computer/electrical engineering and medicine, and has a passion for addressing inequality. Neeraj manages data & analytics.

  • Emily Freedman

    Emily is a public health professional with diverse experience developing and implementing health and disaster relief programs in low-resource settings in the U.S. and abroad. She brings program management and operations expertise to Little Red Box, and is passionate about promoting health through development of community assets. Emily runs sourcing and community engagement.

  • Jeff Kaplan

    For over 15 Years, Jeff has created and operated social enterprise businesses with a focus on urban impact. Through his community development group, Concept Neighborhood, he focuses on creative place-making projects that enhance community wealth in under-served communities. Jeff's greatest passion is supporting entrepreneurs who solve social justice problems through business. Jeff focuses on retail ops and real estate.

     

Advisory Board

  • Ben Chesler

    Imperfect Foods (co-founder)

  • Carrie Ferrence

    Stockbox Neighborhood Grocery (founder)

  • Michael Hole

    Good Apple (founding advisor), UT Austin (asst professor and founding director, The Impact Factory)

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