NEW YORK (CIRCA) — Forty-two million people in the United States face hunger all while 40 percent of the food produced goes to waste. Rethink Food NYC founder Matt Jozwiak aimed to alleviate both of those issues.
“Rethink Food is a nonprofit organization that takes excess food, repurposes it, processes it in new meals and distributes it to community service organizations around New York City,” Jozwiak said.
ReThink food is a New York-based nonprofit trying to reconcile the fact that 1.4 million people face hunger in New York City alone and that 40 percent of all food produced in America ends up going to waste. #socialgood #socialimpact— GroundSwell (@GroundSwellSPC) February 25, 2018
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Jozwiak served as a chef at Eleven Madison Park, which has been honored with three Michelin stars and was once named the top restaurant in the world.
“When you go to that restaurant, they’re giving you the absolute best part of every single ingredient; that’s why it’s almost impossible to replicate,” Jozwiak said. “But through that, there’s a variety of trim that are unused, and when you do that, you have all kinds of excess food that pours out of that. So we’re able to collect from both of those avenues and get the best possible food.”
Rethink Food collects the unused ingredients from restaurants and other institutions around New York City and repurposes them to create meals for people in need.
“It stinks to have to throw out food, whether it’s like from your plate at the end of the night at dinner at home, or whether it’s large batches of food that we may have here at the restaurant,” said Daniel Katz of Make It Nice, the restaurant group that manages Eleven Madison Park.
“In the past, objections have been, well the Department of Health code is so strict," Katz said. “In this case, we don’t really do anything, we just keep that food at the end of the night, they show up when we are closing and whatever there is left over, they’re packing it up and taking it away.”
Once Rethink Food collects the donations, they are taken back to the Rethink kitchen where a team of chefs creates new meals. One of the groups that Rethink has partnered with to distribute the meals is the North Brooklyn Angels, a nonprofit that delivers food from their own food truck.
“A lot of our constituents are not homeless, they’re just people that are below the poverty line to such an extent that they have to choose between paying a bill or eating a meal,” said Tomas Gomez of North Brooklyn Angels. “A lot of the hunger problem is solved through just throwing people food, like canned food and bland bread. (Rethink Food) is not just giving someone a free meal, you’re giving someone a beautiful meal. Like a gift of the heart.”
Jozwiack says Rethink Food has plans to deliver 500,000 meals this year, which would use about 2,500 pounds of otherwise wasted food per week.
“It’s not meant to be that deep; it’s meant to be very simple,” he said. “There’s a plethora of excess food in this community, and there’s more than enough people suffering from food insecurity. It’s just about sharing; it’s about breaking bread more than anything else.”
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