New York City, renowned as a cultural melting pot and a historical immigrant hub, has witnessed a significant influx of migrants in recent years. The aftermath of COVID-19 depleted essential resources while over 100,000 migrants arrived in the city, seeking asylum. Rethink Food has stepped in to address food insecurity, standing alongside the city’s diverse heritage and commitment to helping those in need.
The city has partnered with area restaurants and an initiative called Rethink Food to distribute meals daily to needy people. Through this collaboration, tens of thousands of migrants are fed daily, using mostly excess food that farmers, grocery stores, and manufacturers don’t need and would otherwise throw out.
The following explores how one New York City restaurant — Beatstro, in the South Bronx — is doing it and what you can do to help.
Helping 2,800 Migrants Every Day
The program offers restaurants like Beatstro and others who are participating a small amount of compensation for the cost of food and labor associated with making the meals. Then, the restaurants prepare and package the meals, which are delivered to shelters while they’re still warm and fresh. Beatstro alone makes about 2,800 meals for migrants every day between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and as many as 20,000 meals a week.
The subsidized meals program has also proven to greatly benefit area residents. Some of the money restaurants receive to offset their costs goes to labor, helping increase employment opportunities at restaurants throughout New York City. Beatstro hired 15 more employees to help their team prepare migrant meals every day, further enriching the community around these local businesses.
Beatstro is the South Bronx’s first restaurant to pay homage to traditional hip-hop culture, and the building’s interior is designed to fit the bill. With brightly colored decor and multicultural dishes with a classic twist, Beatstro has become one of New York City’s favorite brunch and lunch restaurants. It’s located on Alexander Avenue in the Bronx.
Beatstro has an expansive menu, featuring classic brunch dishes like chicken and waffles, deviled eggs, salads, and steak and eggs. For lunch, there’s a fried green tomatoes appetizer, a classic cheeseburger and fries, or Southern-style shrimp and grits. The city’s migrants also enjoy these same delicious foods through the program, helping vulnerable groups get the nutrition and energy they need every day.
Discover Rethink Food’s Initiatives
Rethink Food is a nonprofit charitable organization that has partnered with grocery stores, restaurants, farmers, food brands, and other businesses to pair excess food that would ordinarily be discarded with people who can transform those ingredients into hot, healthy, and nutritious meals for people and groups in need.
You can tour the Commissary Kitchen, where the magic happens, to see how the organization takes thousands of pounds of donated and excess food and uses it to create free meals that are delivered to shelter sites throughout the city.
During the tour, you’ll get to try one of the meals the charity makes and delivers to migrants in New York City and taste-test soups, dips, and desserts. Plus, every ticket you buy puts 20 more meals back into the community, so Rethink Food can continue providing New York City residents with quality food during difficult times.