Wow what a journey these last 3 months have been. It’s hard not to lose track of time given all
that has gone over the past several weeks. It was Friday, March 13th here in Orange County when everything erupted. Schools announced they would close, stay at home orders came down from above and our world turned upside down.
Almost overnight every organization that we provided meals to closed down. We lost all of our catering events as well as most all our tenants who rented kitchen space from us. This unfortunately meant the loss of a large portion of our earned income through social enterprise.
It seems we’ve been running nonstop ever since.
While things have certainly settled in a bit for us, every week, if not every day, brings new and unexpected surprises and challenges. The growing need and request for food continues to flow and we expect an even bigger increase as the enhanced unemployment benefits for so many people comes to an end next month. It’s so sad and shocking to see how this crisis has thrown so many people into despair so quickly. With more than 50 agency partners we are so very grateful for all the people who work so hard to get our meals out to those who need it most. High Ground, Saddleback Church, Newsong Church and Kid's Works are just of few of those we have been able to work with regularly.
Being the largest recovered food kitchen in Southern California who is producing meals exclusively for the less fortunate, we are both blessed and challenged with the unique recovered food donations that come to us. When a local seafood supplier reaches out and wants to donate stuffed filet of salmon, no problem. But when a major food manufacturer calls and has 10,000 pounds of pork by-product we know we are in for a surprise. But we strive to not say no and work hard to prevail.
We’re able to overcome most all the food challenges that come our way thanks to hiring 16 culinary professional who lost their jobs during the pandemic. This has aided our production immensely and for that we are so very grateful. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without support from so many amazing organizations here in Orange County. The OC Community Resilience Fund (powered in part by Charitable Ventures and the OCCF), the Anaheim Community Foundation, Wells Fargo, Sempra Energy, the Tarsadia Foundation, the Swayne Family Foundation, Saddleback Church and the Warne Foundation is just a few of the amazing organizations that have stepped up to support our working during this crisis.
With all this amazing support and an even greater flow of recovered food coming in our doors we’ve topped more than a half million meals this year. Wousa, no wonder I'm so tired.
Beyond the obvious negative fall out on so many people and the racial tensions and unrest that our country is experiencing, one of the hardest parts for us has been the loss of our volunteer team. We are blessed to have so so many wonderful volunteers and we miss each and every one of you so very much. But we know it’s the wise and safe thing to do for now. We look forward to the time when we can welcome you all back into our kitchen as well as get our new food truck, Babs, out to serve alongside you helping our neighbors in need.
So until then we will keep on keeping on and do our best to make as many high quality, tasty and nutritious meals as possible. We hope and pray that each and every one of you are safe, and well and healthy and not overly impacted by all that is happening in our world. If we can be of service or support please do reach out and let us know.
Thank you all so very much,
Founder & Culinary Director