MISSION & HISTORY.
Our mission is to create an end-to-end distribution network to produce and distribute healthy, fresh meals for families, seniors, and those with disabilities experiencing food insecurity. We collaborate with local independent restaurants, nonprofits, local food banks, pantries, and last-mile distribution partners, and pay each entity a fair market rate for each meal thereby uplifting the entire food system (and the community-at-large) including farmers, distributors, restaurant employees, delivery drivers, local nonprofits, and direct response providers.
Cook It Forward was founded in June 2020 by Joshua Berkson, Patrick Sweeney of Rule No One Hospitality, Inc., and Francesca Hong of Morris Ramen to empower our kitchens to help support those who are food insecure in Madison, especially communities of color disproportionately affected by the pandemic. We realized as the pandemic forced all to ‘go mobile’, restaurants were uniquely positioned and more adept than ever at producing safely packaged meals for delivery. Doing this work fulfills our respective missions in the hospitality industry to take care of one another and support our community.
GOALS & MEASURES.
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.
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+.
Restaurant Workers Retained
Restaurants in the CIF network get paid $10/meal to produce individually packaged meals. By working directly with restaurants and providing demand for the restaurant business, we can get meals to those who need them most while also uplifting an industry that needs all of their help to keep their doors open.
FOOD IS MEDICINE.
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.