NBC 15: "‘Cook it Forward’ campaign makes push to provide free meals for Thanksgiving"

November 20, 2020

By Gabriella Rusk

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Cook It Forward is a partnership between local restaurants in Madison and non-profits to provide meals to those in need. It’s a way to keep local chefs cooking while doing good for the community.

Alnisa Allgood, the Director of Collaboration for Good, says this time of year can be tough on many people, especially those dealing with food insecurity.

“I think the holidays are the period of time where most people feel the brunt of their situation,” said Allgood.

She says even something as simple as a meal can give hope to a family going through a hard time.

“If they can make a meal for the holidays and sit down with their family, they feel like there is still hope out there that they can do better the next year and even better the year after that,” Allgood said.

Since it began earlier this year, Cook It Forward has raised over $175,000 and provided 13,000 meals to six different locations.

Those non-profits receiving the meal donations include FOSTER, Urban Triage, Me to We, Freedom, Inc., and EOTO+.

The campaign has an initial goal of 50,000 free meals. Their goal for distributing Thanksgiving meals is 2,500 meals.

The campaign uses donated dollars to pay participating restaurants $10 per meal, which in turn helps the restaurants to pay workers, rent, and their suppliers, including supporting local farms, producers, and distributors.

Some participating downtown Madison restaurants are Ancora Coffee, Banzo, Casetta, Gates & Brovi, Harvest, La Kitchenette, Lucille, Madtown Food Services Marigold, Merchant, Morris Ramen, Pasture & Plenty, Sardine, and The Old Fashioned.

Morris Ramen cook Autumn Fearing-Kabler says they enjoy partnering with Cook It Forward

“From the menu planning to the packaging to the drivers showing up to get the food today, it’s really exciting and powerful and humbling,” Fearing-Kabler said.

They believe this network of people working together shows the strength of Madison’s downtown businesses and non-profits.

“I do want us to be able to connect with and provide for and nourish as many folks as possible,” they said. “Seeing this program and these partnerships that we’re being able to develop, that to me is such a necessary path toward like knowing each other and building trust with each other.”

To donate to Cook It Forward Madison, click HERE.

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