Hello Friends of Bracken's Kitchen,

February blessed us with over 31,300 pounds of RECOVERED FOOD products. This food allowed us to create 25,433 healthy and delicious meals, an 85% increase from January! That means MORE meals served and MORE positive IMPACT to adults and children in our community who suffer from food insecurity. 
We can’t do it all by ourselves. Special thanks to the continual commitment of premier food product suppliers and partner agencies such as Chef to End Hunger , LA & SF Specialty Produce , Mary’s Kitchen , Newport Meat Co. , OC Food Bank , Orange County Produce , Solutions for Urban Agriculture , and Waste Not OC , just to name a few. Their efforts help eliminate unnecessary food waste and redirect those resources to us so we can prepare more delicious and nutritious meals. We are humbled by, and grateful for, their support. 
And without our dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we definitely couldn’t fulfill our mission. Over 764 volunteer hours were logged from our Kitchen Preparation program, Food Truck Feeding program, and Office Support program in February. We also welcomed 25 new volunteers to our roster. Thank you all! 
It is an exciting time of growth for Bracken’s Kitchen and we appreciate all of our friends who join us to help fight food insecurity in our community. 

Cat Richards

Director of Operations
Bracken's Kitchen
Kitchen Assistance

Special thanks goes to the Orange County Community Foundation staff members who came out to spend a day volunteering at Bracken's Kitchen. Their team of 27 rocked at prepping, cooking, sorting and packaging meals to help provide nutritional meals for OC families in need. OCCF’s work ranges from helping veterans return to civilian life to providing at-risk teens with opportunities to overcome the challenges of poverty. OCCF also works on problems of homelessness, health and wellness, and education as well as what they term as safety-net concerns, the critical issues that arise when deep poverty and a high cost of living coexist.
Facility Handy-work

Eighteen volunteers from three Growth Groups from Seabreeze Church in Huntington Beach came out for a service day. The three groups “divided and conquered” on many tasks. One group was dedicated to painting the office area, break room and other touch-up projects. Another group focused on cleaning and making our kitchen equipment clean and shiny, and the handyman group helped tackled our list of repairs and even painted one of our kitchens with a 11 ft. high ceiling to prep for health inspection! Seabreeze Church is made up of a collection of people who want to honor God with their lives and bless the surrounding community through relevant teaching, worshipful music, and loving people.

We were honored to have the Anteaters from Philanthropy/UCI Alumni Group come out to serve the families at Illumination Foundation’s after school program in Santa Ana. Our food truck feedings with Betsy are special since it gives our volunteers a chance to meet, to connect, and feed our friends in need. The Anteaters in Philanthropy brings together the anteater alumni, families and students to provide awareness, access, and opportunities to the local community. They do quarterly and monthly volunteering service events to engage more UCI Anteater Alumni in the local community.
Volunteer of the Month!
Meet Patti Casas , our long time Betsy Ambassador for our Community Feeding Program . When she’s not volunteering, she’s busy with her management recruiter company, Casas Career Search.

She’s a mom and grandmother, and her 5-year-old grandson is the light of her life. She feels strongly about giving back since her daughter was diagnosed with Lupus when she was a single parent. People stepped up and helped her and she knew she would give back someday.

“It really feels good to be on the other side of the giving table.” She’s inspired by the people at Bracken’s Kitchen and feels honored to be a part of the team.

droppable-1552426611797One of her favorite memories is when a 90-year-old woman at Ross Street gave her a plastic bracelet she made and said in Spanish, “this is for you my daughter.” She said it touches her heart and she cherishes it.

Her advice to future volunteers? “Get to know the families we serve, have fun, believe in the mission and come back to serve again – we need you!”

OC Food Bank- Clementine Trolley

We’re honored to collaborate with OC Food Bank to provide healthy nutritious meals for their mobile trolley Clementine for those who need it most. Special thanks to PIMCO for leading the way to alleviate hunger issues globally and locally. It was such a privilege to be with great company at the event including Mark Lowry and Denise Williams of OC Food Bank, Gregory Scott, CEO of Community Action Partnership of Orange County, and special guest, Congressman Lou Correa. And it was fun to share the joy with our friends, Jon Giberson from Roosters Foundation of Orange County , and Rachel Otair and Minhchau Chau at Waste Not OC Coalition !
Skyview School – Valentine’s Celebration

It was such a heartwarming, fun and meaningful time we had with St. James Episcopal Church of Newport Beach to provide the students at Skyview School in Santa Ana a special Valentine celebration with a yummy hot lunch and Valentine’s cookie decorating goodness. It’s our second time serving this school with St. James including a festive Christmas celebration. Skyview School is the only school in Santa Ana Unified School District specifically dedicates its resources to provide students a sense of normalcy and continual education, who are experiencing homelessness and displacement. We will continue to love on those kids who need it most regularly!
Sgt. Pepperoni Pizza Store
fundraised for BK

We’re so thankful for Chef Trevor Kotchek at Sgt. Pepperoni's Pizza Store who stopped by to deliver a giant and generous donation. During the month of December, all proceeds from their delicious Roscioli Pie went to benefit Bracken’s Kitchen. They’re helping us fight food insecurity in Orange County. They also accepted cash donations all month long.
LACI- Los Angeles Community Impact

We’re honored that we were one of 10 projects that were chosen with the USC Los Angeles Community Impact group this spring. LACI provides pro-bono consulting services to 10-12 nonprofits, and social enterprises every semester. LACI members are placed into project teams of 4-5 student consultants to address their clients' business needs through strategic analysis and problem-solving. We are excited to work with the LACI teams during their spring semester!
Want to start volunteering ? Come to our kitchen and help us cook!
We currently need volunteers for kitchen preparation as we are putting out more food and meals per month then we ever have before. A brief description of the shifts available and details are available through the SIGN UP link.