Bracken’s Kitchen Tackles the Pandemic-Induced Surge in Food Insecurity

Bracken’s Kitchen Tackles the Pandemic-Induced Surge in Food Insecurity
Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Bracken’s Kitchen has had its busiest year since it was founded in 2013. As O.C. residents faced unemployment and other financial challenges because of the pandemic, the kitchen ramped up its food production more than threefold, working with agencies to distribute meals to the hungry. By mid-June, the kitchen had surpassed its anticipated goal of preparing 600,000 meals this year. Founder and chef Bill Bracken says that at the beginning of stay-at-home orders, the biggest challenge was managing excess food waste coming in from local restaurants. But the organization pushed through. “We have several shelters that get meals from us, seven days a week, for lunch and dinner,” Bracken says. “If we close our kitchens, what would happen to them?”

1.3 million
Meals served this year, as of October

31,000
People the kitchen feeds each month

$25K
Grant recently received from the Mazda Foundation

64
Agencies the kitchen partners with to distribute food

212
Tons of food saved from landfills this year

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