Bridging the Gap


For those who know us, or have seen us in the press, Rethink is generally known for where it sources food. Those are the high-end restaurants, of course, that used to dispose unused ingredients we now turn into some 5,000 + meals per week. But there’s the other end of the spectrum that gets far less attention: our community service organization (CSO) partners. Rethink’s unique approach to food distribution, it turns out, can make all the difference in the world to these outfits — and hopefully, the whole system of serving those in need.

On the surface at least, a lot of distribution services do things that are similar to us. They collect food from different vendors and they distribute it directly to organizations as quickly as they possibly can. But this is the old model. What Rethink does differently is actually cater towards these CSOs. We work with them hand-in-hand, day after day, to make sure they have the best products; the best food for what they need.

In doing all this, we made an important discovery. While it wasn’t in our original business plan, we realized we were saving our CSO partners tens of thousands of dollars every month. That’s because under the old model, each distributor drops off a wide range of foods that the organization then needs to pull together into meals. They need volunteers to organize all this, to cook the meals, to serve the food. Only, that isn’t point of a community service organization. This is not even their main goal. Their main goal is to help people get back on their feet, lift them up — the things that we at Rethink don't do. 

CSOs offer tons of services, including helping people find homes and convening policy events that actually help make sure that the halfway houses and the quarter way houses that are in New York City are treating their residents fairly. For them, their food operation is simply there to get people in the door so that they can talk to them about about these services that they're providing. Their goal is to teach financial literacy, help on drug rehabilitation, provide trainings and so on. It’s not about collecting food or managing a kitchen or spending resources on any of this.

So one organization alone that we work with spends around $50,000 - $60,000 a year on something Rethink can now reduce or entirely limit. And that’s true for our other seven partners, which comes to roughly a potential savings of more than $400,000 year to them. And in a larger sense, by consolidating all the preparation and managing to our one person, and eliminating all the trucking and man hour delivery costs of all their distributors, we believe the Rethink approach can completely rewrite the budget for serving food to the needy in New York and beyond. 

This essentially makes every dollar you donate supercharged because not only does it go directly towards helping the Rethink team produce meals, it also goes towards cutting costs for the nonprofit organizations receiving and distributing our meals. So what are you waiting for? Become a monthly donor today and help us help fix philanthropy — one systematic change at a time.