Meals for Good Inc

local restaurants helping local communities

NEW YORK CITY, NY   |  Mealsforgood.org

Mission

To increase access to and choice of local and regional fresh food for people of all ages who face food insecurity, and, by doing so, also support our family farms.

Ruling year info

2018

Principal Officer

Cathy Nonas

Main address

130 LENOX AVENUE #802

NEW YORK CITY, NY 10026 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

83-0779118

NTEE code info

Food Banks, Food Pantries (K31)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Food insecurity continues to affect people across the country. In 2018, 40 million people lived in food-insecure households. In NYC, food insecurity is 19% higher than the national rate. 16% of our residents are food insecure and 1 in 5 is a child. Another way to think about it is to calculate how many nutritionally adequate meals are missing from New Yorkers in a given year. The answer is 242 million meals were missing because of insufficient household resources to purchase nutritionally adequate food in NYC. Food stamps, (if a person qualifies), allocates $1.40 for a meal (and this is true wherever you live except Hawaii and Alaska) - so it is the same whether you live in NYC or in rural areas. People who are food insecure do without fresh, healthy food which tends to be more expensive. This, in turn, makes people vulnerable to diseases that are often worsened by unhealthy diets, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Everyone deserves a chance to eat healthy.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Meals For Good

Beginning in Harlem, and then branching out the rest of the NYC, restaurants added $0.25-$1.00 to one food item on their menu for at least 6 months. This money bought local fresh fruits and vegetables for the smallest food pantries in the community of the restaurant. Since COVID, as restaurants are fighting for their own lives, Meals For Good has looked for the generosity of individual donors as well as grants to increase distribution of fresh produce and other groceries, mostly from local and regional family farms. We have also branched out and service not just food pantries, but also community based organizations that service people who are food insecure, donating the groceries that families and seniors are missing. The majority of our work in 2020 and 2021 was in Harlem.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Homeless people

Where we work

Awards

2020 Empire Award 2020

NY State Senate

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Pounds of fresh produce distributed per year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Meals For Good

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

2018 was our first year, starting in the middle of the year. 2019 was our first full year. In 2020, due to COVID, we shifted to groceries, not just fresh produce.

Number of new champions or stakeholders recruited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Meals For Good

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Pre-COVID the champions are restaurants. Post COVID, champions are community based and tenant organizations.

Number of clients receiving the grocery shopping services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Social and economic status

Related Program

Meals For Good

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals are simple: to help people who are food insecure obtain the food they want and need to stay healthy. Goals for 2022:
1) To continue to support small pantries that need to increase fresh produce and to purchase as much as possible from local farmers.
2) to build the supermarket voucher program by raising more money and including more CBOs to distribute the vouchers.
3) to help support more people who cannot receive federal funds for food because of immigration status

Our goal is to reduce food insecurity in NYC. We go about this in two ways:

1) We raise money through grants and individual donations to work with community based organizations (CBOs) to help people get the healthy and culturally appropriate groceries they need and want. Meals For Good, Inc either donates the food that CBOs specify are missing from their constituents diets, or the CBOs distribute special vouchers for specific neighborhood supermarkets so people can choose their own food. The CBOs we choose to work with have client bases with high poverty and many do not receive federal funding such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).
We are currently also working with Hunter College's Food Policy Center to look at receipt data to help us further define what families need, but the data indicates that people buy meats, produce and kitchen basics such as flour and corn oil. This information will be available to other organizations to help them advocate for more choice and better access to healthy fresh food.

2) We continue to supply grants to smaller food pantries to order fresh produce from mostly local family farms for their clients. Before COVID, we partnered with restaurants that donated a specific amount of money from one food item on the menu for at least six months and this funded our pantry work. With restaurants struggling so since COVID, we have received individual donations to continue this work. A few restaurants have started to support us again, and we hope that we can continue to grow this area.

This is what food justice is all about: the farmer receives a fair price for her/his food, and the customer is able to choose and afford the food they want and need.

This is a simple plan that requires little administration because we are using places (food pantries) and companies that purchase farm fresh food that already exist; and CBOs are deciding who receives vouchers and distributing it to them. Currently, all administrative costs and salaries are donated, but as we grow, we are wedded to keeping administrative costs down to more than 10% of the monies being donated.

We work with the City's Human Resource Administration to help find the food pantries that are lacking the money to buy fresh produce . In New York City, the grants are given to GrowNYC or Riviera, and the pantry chooses the produce they want and need for their clientele. GrowNYC is the largest supporter of family farms in New York City.
As the restaurants stabilize, we will be able to pay for this work through restaurants. As we grow this part, there will be a need for a part-time billing person and a restaurant/pantry outreach person, but again, administrative costs will remain no more than 10% of money being donated.

The vouchers and the legal agreements with supermarkets already exist. As we raise more money from individual donations and foundations, we can distribute more vouchers and bring more supermarkets into the program. But this does not require more staff as it is the CBOs that decide how best to distribute the vouchers, or what their clients/constituents need.

During this COVID-19 time, we have delivered healthy and culturally appropriate groceries to almost 3000 families in Harlem through local community groups, meeting the needs of the most marginalized families, who are often left out of government aid. We have worked mostly in Harlem in order to get as deep into the community as possible with limited funds but we are prepared to branch out soon. We are about to distribute more vouchers for supermarkets to the community because we believe that this is the most expeditious and respectful (and easiest) way to have families obtain the food they need and want to stay healthy. We will also continue to work with academic colleges and universities to study the results.

Our only limitation is money.

Meals For Good has also been responsible for delivering more than 8,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to East and Central Harlem food pantries and helping to increase the number of clients at those pantries because the produce was so good. We have also helped support our local and regional family farms that need our buy-in to continue to work their farms. We have also started to give extra grants to pantries that will try new produce, particularly if it meets the needs of some of their pantry clients. Bok choi has been a very popular item as has spinach and lettuces.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The people we serve are food insecure. They attend either food pantries, Head Starts, Healthcare centers or other community based organizations and identify as food insecure

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    The most recent change has been because of COVID19. The lines for food pantries have been longer, and the clients more diverse so we have added extra money for additional culturally appropriate produce choices. We also realized that people were not getting the food they needed such as fresh meats, eggs and basics such as flour, oil, coffee so 1) we worked with organizations to find out what people wanted, ordered it, and the CBO distributed it and 2) we designed a novel way to reduce food insecurity: CBOs distributed $70 to each family in $10 vouchers for specific supermarkets in the neighborhood. We aim to significantly increase this last work because it is the most respectful and simplest way for people obtain the food they want and that is culturally appropriate for their families

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    It has changed how we help families and seniors obtain the food they need and want and it has changed what food we distribute. We are small and therefore able to try new things. We have worked with community organizations to see what is best for them and their constituents and have tried everything from surveying pantry lines, to initiating our own temporary food pantries. Currently we feel that the most successful and most respectful way to reduce food insecurity is through distribution of vouchers for supermarkets so people can choose their own food. However, we continue to help small pantries afford local and culturally appropriate fresh produce as well.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

Meals for Good Inc

Sign In or Create Account to view assets data

lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Meals for Good Inc

Board of directors
as of 2/16/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Susannah Koteen

SKDL Corp

Term: 2019 - 2021

Greg Silverman

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

Michael Hurwitz

GreenmarketCo

Susannah Koteen

Lido Restaurant

Kathrine Alford

Formerly Exec VP Food Network

Alexander Nonas-Barnes

Independent Film Producer

Cathy Nonas

Meals For Good

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/16/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data