Since the spring of 2022, more than 100,000 migrants have been bused from Southern states like Florida and Texas to New York City. The city’s public resources have been stretched thin since the COVID-19 pandemic and these increased demands have put further strain on those resources. In response to this complex challenge, organizations like Rethink Food have stepped up to collaborate with local authorities and community initiatives, providing essential support through food assistance programs.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams called the situation a “humanitarian crisis” and estimated that over the next three years, the displacement of border state migrants will cost the city upwards of $12 billion. Most of the migrants are from Venezuela, experiencing the worst economic decline the country has ever seen, and were sent under the guise of being able to receive help. Unfortunately, New York City was never informed of their impending arrival and was unprepared for the tens of thousands of new migrants that were coming literally by the busload.
But by partnering with initiatives like Rethink Food and local restaurants, the hungry masses are able to eat a hot, nutritious meal each day. Here’s how one popular restaurant, Beatstro, is doing it and some ways you can help.
Serving More Than 2,800 Meals a Day
Like other restaurants participating in the subsidized free meals program, Beatstro gets a small sum of money to help offset the costs of ordering, cooking, and preparing the food. Each day, the restaurant prepares around 2,800 meals, divided between breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Once the meals are assembled for transport, they’re delivered directly to shelter sites while still hot and fresh.
The program has done more than just provide for migrants. It’s also opened up opportunities for New York City’s residents. Beatstro hired an additional 15 employees to help with food preparation, packaging, and delivery, putting even more back into the NYC community.
Located in NYC’s South Bronx neighborhood, Beatstro is a classic NYC dining experience with distinct hip-hop, African-American, and Puerto Rican influences. The speakeasy and vinyl-shop decor is vibrant, and the food is stick-to-your-ribs delicious.
Beatstro’s brunch has been named one of New York City’s best by the prestigious Michelin guide, and for good reason. You’ll find favorites like French toast, chicken and waffles, and steak and eggs cooked to perfection. The lunch menu boasts fried green tomatoes, jerk chicken, shrimp and grits, crunchy catfish, red beans and rice, and many more classic Southern-style foods.
Best of all, NYC’s new migrant residents enjoy these same types of meals at no cost while they work on getting established in a brand-new country and beginning a completely new lifestyle.
How You Can Help Rethink Food
Rethink Food NYC Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reshaping how communities approach food distribution to vulnerable groups and delivering hot, nutritious meals to people in need. The organization works directly with grocery stores, brands, and farmers in the food industry to connect restaurants with labor to organizations with excess food so nutritious meals can be produced, assembled, and delivered as efficiently as possible.
Rethink Food has a team of chefs who work with donated and collected food to create flavorful repasts that anyone can enjoy. The charity has served over 14 million meals to food-insecure communities. You can get involved with Rethink Food by donating excess food, volunteering your time, making monetary donations, or just liking and sharing content to drive awareness of this critical program.