The hottest brunch spot in New York City’s South Bronx neighborhood, Beatstro is renowned for its vibrant art scene and elevated Southern comfort cuisine. Beyond this reputation, it has fervently embraced a commitment to alleviating local hunger. Collaborating with nonprofit Rethink Food, Beatstro channels this passion by providing nourishment to migrant workers temporarily housed in the Bronx. This partnership not only ensures flavorful meals for struggling migrants, but also enables restaurants like Beatstro to receive subsidies, easing their costs and boosting income.
New York is facing unprecedented numbers of migrants. With this steady influx of new people comes a growing problem with food insecurity. As many as one in four city residents don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and this hunger is what Beatstro and Rethink Food are trying to combat through their partnership.
Inside Rethink Food’s Innovative Approach to Food Distribution
Rethink Food’s mission is twofold: to prevent hunger and food waste. It works through community support systems, like churches and community centers, to deliver food to people in need. Because the nonprofit partners with local restaurants, the food distributed is of excellent quality, providing nutrition as well as great flavor.
This program also helps support restaurants in large cities that are still struggling after the COVID-19 pandemic. Supply chain shortages and growing food prices can create a challenging economic environment for eateries, and Rethink Food’s program offers a subsidy to help keep these restaurants in business and encourage them to hire more staff.
Not only does this program help hungry people, but it also fosters a sense of unity in the community. It’s reshaping the way community support systems operate while providing much-needed sustenance to New York’s most vulnerable populations. The end result is more jobs, less hunger, and a greater sense of local community.
How Rethink Food and Beatstro Make It Happen
Rethink Food introduced this program in 2020, giving restaurants a way to support the local community while also protecting their income. In March 2023, Rethink celebrated serving its 10 millionth meal since 2017. Says the website, “We partner with restaurants to deliver 40,000-plus nutritious, culturally celebrated meals per week across NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Nashville [Tennessee], Washington D.C., and Miami.” As an enthusiastic partner, each day, Beatstro uses its van to pick up and deliver meals to local shelter sites. So not only is the restaurant cooking and providing the meals and additional community jobs, but it’s making sure the meals get where they need to go. Once they arrive at the site, chefs double-check that the food is still in good shape and ready to serve, and the shelters distribute them to waiting families.
With this new contract, Beatstro’s director of operations, Jasmine Garcia , indicated she was able to hire 15 new employees. As the child of an immigrant family, Garcia knows the importance of good food when life is stressful. She also appreciates how the program helps the restaurant limit food waste in a positive way. “Thousands of people a day are eating a good meal that I know is cooked with integrity,” Garcia told The New York Times. “Knowing that it’s coming from us to you, means everything to me.”
The program is working well for both Rethink Food and the Beatstro team, and the partnership is expected to continue, allowing more people to get tasty food while the local restaurant scene grows in its outreach.