There was no question Rethink Food NYC would partner with Ghetto Gastro to help feed the borough most devastated during the current crisis. The non-profit turned to the Bronx-based culinary collective to work with local restaurants to provide free meals in an area challenged with food deserts, income inequality and fewer healthcare options.
But after serving tens of thousands of meals with La Morada—a local restaurant run by undocumented employees—the collaborators started feeding New Yorkers protesting in support of Black Lives Matter.
“We’ve been working together with Rethink Food NYC to support our Bronx community but also our New York family, most recently by providing food for the BLM protesters in Washington Square Park and Domino Park,” says Jon Gray, a co-founder of Ghetto Gastro. “GG’s role is bringing awareness that food apartheid is a symptom of the systemic oppression that Black people face and also forging key partnerships to feed people in the Bronx during the pandemic and the uprising.”
Rethink, a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce food waste while also feeding those in need, has been working with La Morada to serve nearly 1,300 meals a day Tuesday-Saturday. Deliveries are made to people living in the Bronx who may not be able to go outside or afford meals, as well as various community organizations, shelters and churches. The partnership helps local restaurants to stay open while paying their employees (a vital source of income for undocumented people who can’t apply for unemployment benefits).
So far, more than 30,000 meals have been served throughout the Bronx stemming from the collaboration between Ghetto Gastro, Rethink and La Morada. They’re aiming for at least 75,000 total.
This weekend, three food trucks—Made From Scratch, Big D’s Grub and El Toro Rojo—plan to serve up menus including plates like peach barbecue chicken with yellow rice and French beans, Vietnamese roasted chicken rice bowls with mixed veggies and tacos filled with grilled meats as well as vegetarian options. They’ll be in the Bronx, Harlem and Queens.
Ghetto Gastro—whose founders have found support in a wide-range of industries, from fashion to music—also raised over $100,000 through a special edition T-shirt where all proceeds will be donated to Rethink, Color of Change (an online racial justice non-profit) and Summaeverythang (a community center in L.A.).
Rethink, which has worked with neighborhood restaurants to Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park as part of its Restaurant Response Program, is aiming to work with a growing roster of restaurants in the Bronx to provide more meals.
"New York has suffered a lot. In support of the protesters and one of the hardest hit areas, we wanted to provide 3,000 meals to folks in the Bronx," says Matt Jozwiak, CEO of Rethink. "We're trying to spread the love here one meal at a time."
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