Meet Wendy Mendoza at Bracken's Kitchen
We are so grateful for all of our employees who are working tirelessly to help us lessen the burden of food insecurity for thousands of people who struggle to make ends meet. We have many positions from chefs to dishwashers and everything in between, who all serve important roles to meet our production needs.
One of our new hires at the start of the pandemic shutdown was Wendy Mendoza, 33, of Anaheim. She’s a single mom of two boys, 11 and 13, and she’s been with us since March 2020.
At Bracken’s Kitchen, she’s a valuable member of our kitchen team. She’s the LEADER of packaging meals for those that we serve, along with our other amazing team members and volunteers. Each day, she packs meals into family size-pans, and quarts of soup and stews. With her help, we are able to serve up to 35,000 meals per week, with a goal of 1.5 million meals in 2022, by rescuing and repurposing over ½ million tons of unused edible food. How incredible is that?
Wendy also is very helpful in leading the volunteers at the kitchen every day and at any of the events that the kitchen hosts. The Volunteers have come to know and love Wendy over the 2 years that she has been with us.
Many of the employees that work here joined during the pandemic. When the pandemic started in early March 2020, things were much different. With strict guidelines, no volunteers were allowed, so we hired sixteen out-of-work restaurant workers to help increase our food production more than threefold, which allowed us to distribute meals to the hungry through over 70 community and agency partners.
The kitchen split into two shifts: a morning and afternoon shift so that the kitchen would remain independent between shifts to ensure production continued in the
event someone got sick in the kitchen. Bracken’s Kitchen put the health of its employees the highest priority. We were fortunate to be able to hire Wendy and 15
others at that time.
Because of the pandemic, Wendy was laid off from
her job, where she worked in an assembly line packing food. She needed work to help support her boys. “I feel very blessed to be here. I really love it here, and I feel like this is a stable job. I don’t have to worry that I will be laid off soon,” Wendy said. “I was working through an employment agency, and my jobs wouldn’t last long. I was only hired for a short term.”
“I love it. It’s great to see what Bracken’s Kitchen does in the community. They are repurposing food that gets donated and turns it into delicious food. “
One of many benefits for working at Bracken’s is that she can bring home food for her boys when needed. “They really love the carnitas with the rice and beans, and rotisserie chicken.”
She’s so grateful that Bracken’s offers health benefits as well as paid vacation so that she can spend time with her boys. It’s her first job ever that provides benefits and paid time off.
She’s thankful for the growth of Bracken’s Kitchen. “I am excited to see the growth, and to see firsthand what the future will hold for Bracken’s Kitchen.”