August's Woman of the Month - Monique Rodriguez
Democracy starts on the ground, a concept that Monique Rodriquez is remarkably familiar with. Amid a pandemic, Monique saw a void, in her community (widespread unemployment, racial and social injustice) and was inspired by the humanity of fellow protestors and community members, like her who understand that now is a time more than ever, to lean into one another and take care. From these experiences, Food for Change NYC was born. Food for Change NYC “strives to supply meals to food-insecure individuals and communities within the five boroughs.”
Having a background in foodservice and working closely with refugees, survivors of human trafficking and asylum seekers, Monique has first-hand accounts of hardships. Genuinely living by the adage “food is love,” Monique truly believes “being able to use food as a means of helping people gain social enterprise” builds better communities. Since then, starting just over two months ago, Monique and her team have hit the ground running. Her background has indeed been an asset. “All of our volunteers are amazing, but the main crew that was created has been old co-workers, new friends that have found us on Instagram or by word of mouth,” and together, they have been able to feed countless amounts of people.
How do they do it?
- By feeding the homeless and protestors on the ground
- Providing delicious and nutritious meals and hygiene kits.
- Using community resources including donated supplies and kitchen spaces
- Mobilizing volunteers including professional chefs
- Pouring love into the community daily!
“Food for Change NYC came together in response to the widespread unemployment that abruptly worsened New York’s already prevalent economic disparity. We were inspired by those who put their bodies on the front lines to protest the vast racial and social injustices that occur daily in our nation”. A shame that aforementioned is still the truth, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire and solution albeit small in the grand scheme of things. Food for Change NYC has been touching the hearts and minds of many while providing peace of mind with one less worry, even if it is just for the day. Food for Change NYC’s vision is simple: “to feed our communities and to assist and empower vulnerable populations toward self-sufficiency.” They do not do it for accolades, and the local or federal government does not fund them. FFC NYC does it because now more than ever, it matters.