Bracken’s Kitchen: Making a Difference One Meal at a Time
Many groups may say that they feed people but feeding them and nourishing them are a bit different. That’s why Bracken’s Kitchen makes healthy, nutritious meals more accessible by traveling around and bringing the food to those who need it most.
Bracken’s Kitchen is the brainchild of Chef Bill Bracken; Through food recovery, culinary training and their community feeding program, Bracken’s Kitchen is committed to recovering, re-purposing and restoring both food and lives.
In 2017, Bracken’s Kitchen received a grant to provide a second food truck so that it could double the number of meals it serves from 40,000 to 80,000 per year. Bracken’s Kitchen also works with multiple local organizations to reach those in need.
The individuals who benefit from Bracken’s Kitchen typically have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand. A healthy meal not only nourishes their bodies but also their minds and souls, which will help them in other areas of their lives.
Through it all, the program is intent on preserving the dignity, respect, and pride of those served. The lives of the under-served in our community are challenging enough.
It’s amazing to think that for just $.58 cents, Bracken’s Kitchen can serve a dinner of pan seared breast of chicken with tomatoes and artichokes, brown rice pilaf, roasted autumn vegetables, Bibb salad with balsamic & herbs and fresh fruit. When did $.58 cents ever buy you that much?
A Unique Approach
A unique aspect of Bracken’s Kitchen is that it not only feeds people with its Food Truck Program, but it also works with area restaurants and hotels to use the food they would normally discard. The food is still good and fresh; it’s just food that restaurants and hotels can’t use and would throw away if it wasn’t for Bracken’s Kitchen. Putting this food to good use is helping to nourish people all over Orange County.
For those people who are looking for a job and need hands-on skills, Bracken’s Kitchen has developed a culinary training program. At-risk youth and adults can work side-by-side with professional chefs in the kitchen to learn skills for a career in food service. Much of the recovered food from restaurants and hotels is used to teach participants how to cook, create, and serve meals.
At Bracken’s Kitchen, everything comes full circle. Unused food is put to good use and given to those in need while recipients also learn skills to help them get a job and improve their lives.
There are so many ways you can help Bracken’s Kitchen continue to serve those in need. You can volunteer to serve food or perhaps organize a donation drive for food and supplies. Bracken’s Kitchen is also always looking for people to advocate for its cause. This can be done at work, church, or even through social media.
Bracken’s Kitchen is always looking for people to volunteer their talents; if you can fix a truck or computer or even maintain a website, chances are they would love your help. If you like to cook or have marketing skills, are good with numbers or a creative writer, there’s a spot for you to help at Bracken’s Kitchen. Of course, Bracken’s Kitchen also accepts monetary donations to help keep it running. If you are inclined to donate, please click here.
Besides feeding the under-served of Orange County, Bracken’s Kitchen runs a program called “Catering for a Cause”. The chefs of Bracken’s Kitchen can cater your special event. Knowing that the money you spend is going to a good cause is rewarding within itself.
If you’re looking to give back and help your community in Orange County, I would encourage you to consider supporting the efforts of Bracken’s Kitchen in any way that you can. What may be just a meal for you can make all the difference for someone else. Visit their website to learn more!