During a time when so many are struggling, lending a helping hand to those in need has never been more crucial. The globally recognized day, GivingTuesday, falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Yet, for Rethink Food, essentially, everyday is GivingTuesday — it pays the generosity it gets forward by helping those experiencing hunger year-round. It takes surplus food from restaurants and vendors and distributes it to those in need through its commissary kitchens and partner restaurants.
With additional locations in Chicago, Miami, and Nashville, Tennessee, Rethink Food is perpetually exploring new ways to increase its reach to serve those in need of a nutrient-rich meal.
This GivingTuesday, Rethink Food is encouraging donations through its website, rethinkfood.org, in recurring monthly or one-time increments. Cryptocurrency donations are also being accepted.
“Your gift will not only provide meals to our neighbors impacted by food insecurity. It will also support a whole ecosystem that deeply cares for its community — 50-plus local restaurants/small businesses and community-based partners that serve thousands of much-needed meals per week in their neighborhood.”
With over 15 million meals distributed to date, Rethink Food has given back $50 million to small and medium-size participating restaurants and businesses.
Other groups that have joined the GivingTuesday movement include Sesame Street’s Sesame Workshop, which brings programs and resources to children around the world, and international nonprofit Human Rights Watch, which investigates and reports abuse worldwide. Many more entities are also preparing to get involved this year.
Through its Instagram account @givingtuesday, the organization offers 50 ideas on how to participate in the day, which include paying for coffee or a meal for the person behind you in line, donating your old laptop to a STEM school or nonprofit that focus on the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, passing out treats at a dog park, shoveling snow for a senior citizen, paying someone’s library fees, planting a community garden, leaving wrapped granola or protein bars in a hospital waiting room, and more.
“There’s not a person or community in the entire world where generosity is not important,” Giving Tuesday CEO Asha Curran said about the day, which deliberately occurs after two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
History of GivingTuesday
Since its inception in 2012, GivingTuesday has had one simple goal of making giving to others more of an everyday thing. Roughly 80 countries and millions of people worldwide participate every year, according to givingtuesday.org. Last year, an estimated $3.1 billion was donated in 24 hours in the U.S. alone, a 15% increase over the prior year and a 25% increase since 2020. An impressive 37 million adults took part in GivingTuesday last year by donating funds or time.
“We can make it really hard on each other, or we can make it much easier on each other, lighten each other’s loads, and make each other’s days or lives better,” said Curran. “By doing that, it will create a more generous future at the roots.”
As hunger continues to spread across America, Rethink Food is ramping up support to inspire others to join the fight. Its commissary kitchens prepare protein- and nutrient-packed cuisine enriched with culturally nourishing ingredients. Why does Rethink Food’s approach make sense? “Good meals are reaching people, restaurants are stabilized, and more staff stay employed,” according to Rethink Food’s website.
Rethink Food believes investing in local eateries will ultimately keep feeding hungry people — and healthier businesses make stronger communities.
Rethink Food Is on the Move in Magic City
One good deed begets another: Since opening a Miami branch in 2021, Rethink Food has distributed over 160,000 meals to throughout the Magic City to community-based organizations such as Sant La, which is serving Miami’s Haitian community; Joshua’s Heart Foundation, a not-for-profit, youth-led organization providing groceries and personal items; and Miami Rescue Mission, which serves unhoused men, women and children in South Florida. In Miami, Rethink Food has also worked with Lotus House Women’s Shelter, Tapari, and The Village Free(dges).
Santa La executive director Gepsie M. Metellus told Miami New Times pairing with Rethink Food has been paramount in improving lives for families in need in Miami.
“It’s been a phenomenal partnership, and the invitation came just in time,” Metellus said. “We have been seeing an uptick in people asking if we would have food distribution again because we did in the past, and it ended. So when this opportunity came up we were tickled pink, and so were our clients.”
Metellus added that it’s wonderful that working together also keeps money going into the community. “The food they make is culturally familiar to our clients, who are both of Haitian and Latinx descent,” Metellus mentioned. “There is a great need and families are dependent on the food.”