Cook It Forward’s mission is to work with partnering restaurants and local non-profits to create an end-to-end network fighting ongoing food insecurity in Madison, Wis.


Restaurants are now part of a long-term solution to fight food insecurity.  Participating restaurants produce individually-packaged, chef-cooked, healthy meals. Cook It Forward aggregates these meals and distributes them through our ‘Last-mile distribution Partners’ who ensure that the individuals and families who needed the food, and without recourse to access it, receive it.  


Cook It Forward blurs the lines between mission-driven small business, traditional non-profits, and community-focused philanthropic organizations.  We are all working collectively on social entrepreneurship, social equity, and social justice-- one meal at a time.


Our mission is not only measured in number of meals delivered, as we seek to uplift the entire the food system including farmers, distributors, restaurant employees, delivery drivers, local nonprofits, and direct response providers (85% are black- and brown-led ownership).

# of Meals Delivered

Our first goal is 50,000 individually-packaged healthy meals for those in need in Madison, Wis.

Households Served

We deliver meals to thousands of households, including many families, seniors, and those with disabilities, unable to have access to traditional pantries.

Farmers & Distributors

Our goal is $142,000 to support local farms, producers and distributors.  

Distribution Sites Participating

Partnering local food banks and community centers include Kennedy Heights Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, Fountain of Life, and Allied Wellness Center

'Last Mile' Delivery Providers

Our goal is $210,000 for local drop-off sites (85% service providers are black- and brown-led nonprofits).  Last-mile delivery providers include: FOSTER, Urban Triage, Me to We, Freedom, Inc., and EOTO+.

Support for Restaurants

Our restaurant partners are getting back on their feet as vaccinations become more prevalent and infection rates decrease.  In line with our equity values, restaurants in our network in 2021 are pivoting from being Recipients of donor contributions  to becoming a Contributors to Cook It Forward, thereby donating portions of their meals to the community.  This brings down the cost per meal, increases the amount of meals we produce, and aligns our dollars to those who need it most.

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Our CIF meals are individually-packaged for Health.  To define ‘healthy’, our participating restaurants adopt Harvard University’s Healthy Eating Plate definition, which promotes a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins, which lowers the risk of weight gain and chronic disease.