Bracken’s Kitchen received $27,000 to purchase equipment that will help increase food production and provide more healthy meals to homeless and underserved communities.

Description of how the funds will be used:
$15,000 to purchase steamer, treatment and setup; $12,000 for floor drain installation

Description of Project/Program, what makes it compelling, and the specific needs it will address:
Bracken’s Kitchen, through its food recovery program, restores lives by providing healthy meals to homeless and underserved communities. An estimated 600,000 meals will be provided in 2020 with the expanded food production capacity of the requested commercial steamer. This steamer will enable the bulk steaming of rice and vegetables, resulting in the production of 300 servings at once. Underserved children and families will have access to hot, delicious and healthy meals including food provisions to take home weekly.

Our donation will also provide floor drains enabling the cooking staff to safely dispose of boiling water. Without the funds, the team will continue to risk scalding burns by bailing water into buckets to pour down sink drains.

Describe the Organization or Project as it pertains to the following Impact Giving Grant Standards-

High Impact & Life Transforming:
Bracken’s serves children, working adults, students, homeless, veterans, and elderly individuals living on fixed incomes or no incomes, who struggle to make ends meet. By providing healthy meals and partnering with other community social service providers such as Wise Place, Bracken’s also creates opportunities for additional wraparound services to be offered to the underserved. While low-income parents are enjoying a free, nutritious meal, they are engaged by community partners who can help them with parenting, education, low-cost daycare, etc.

Education:
Bracken’s offers paid hands-on introductory culinary training opportunities for underserved youth and adults through it’s Culinary Training Program. The goal is to help participants develop vocational skills leading to full-time employment in a professional kitchen, breaking the poverty cycle, and further perpetuating the practice of recovering and repurposing food.

Sustainability:
Bracken’s partners with local community colleges such as OCC to provide low-cost meals to food-insecure students. For production costs of $2.25 per meal, OCC pays Bracken’s approximately $6.00 for a healthy, portable meal.

Additionally, Brackens’ receives most of its food from food-industry partners at no cost through its Recovery Food Program. Bracken’s Catering for a Cause social enterprise model directs all catering profits immediately back into kitchen operations.

Community Building:
Bracken’s partners with American Family Housing, Catholic Charities, Charity on Wheels, Illumination Foundation, Mary’s Kitchen, Miracles for Kids, OC Food Bank, OC Rescue Mission, OCC, Project Access, Second Harvest Food Bank, Salvation Army, Waste Not OC, Wise Place, Working Wardrobes, and many others!

Innovative:
Brackens’ utilizes existing refrigerated truck networks for meal distribution and food recovery to reduce carbon footprint and cost:
• Recovers bulk food products from partner food manufacturers, distributors, restaurants, hotels, caterers, grocers, and food banks
• Distributes meals to social enterprise meal services, community feeding programs, and via a new program installs refrigerators into family and senior resource centers
• Partners with food distribution hubs/pantries with an established network of partner agencies to provide healthy meals to food insecure children and adults

Measurable:
Brackens’ success is measured by:
1. Recover bulk food product by engaging food industry partners as a regular low-cost logistics supplier. Goal: Recover 270 tons of unused food products
2. Increase the number of prepared meals produced and distributed to food insecure children and adults. Goal: Produce and serve 600,000 meals to children and families in need – a 58% increase from 2019!
3. Provide Vocational Culinary Training to under-served youth and young adults needing skills to enter the hospitality industry. Goal: Enroll 12-15 students each semester
4. By end of Q1, complete construction for commissary permit and introduce new food truck. Increase workforce and production output by adding second work shift in the kitchen with two prep cooks by beginning of Q2. Add production capacity with commercial steamer by end of Q2
5. Engage new recovery food partners and increase regular food donation by 50% by Q4

Organization’s Mission Statement:
Through food recovery, culinary training, and our community feeding program, we are committed to recovering, re-purposing, and restoring both food and lives.

Link to the website: www.brackenskitchen.com