By Kathy Chouteau
In the early days of the pandemic, Bridge Commissary Kitchen’s Phillip Mitchell and Jeff Wright, owner of Bridge Storage and ArtSpace, put their heads together about what they could do to make an impact among the community’s most vulnerable people. Ever the foodie, the answer came in a flash to Mitchell: “We can donate food.” Since that moment in March 2020, and as of this month, their kitchen-powered brainchild has resulted in them donating 10,000 meals to seniors at Harbour View Senior Apartments, Nevin Plaza and throughout the Santa Fe neighborhood.
According to Mitchell, it took a village to pull off the altruistic effort. Courtney Smith—whose hair salon had closed due to the pandemic—temporarily reinvented herself as a chef and went to work alongside Chef Brittni Waugh to cook up a storm in Bridge’s 450-square-foot kitchen. With Jimi Z. of the Golden Gate Meat Company generously selling Bridge Commissary Kitchen discounted meat at cost—a savings Mitchell estimates at $50,000—the chefs were able to create home-style lunches for seniors like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans.
“All of our food is cooked the day-of, never ahead of time. It’s just food at home,” said Mitchell, adding that Courtney and Brittni are “sticklers about making sure the food is hot and fresh.”
Working with LifeLong Medical Care Elder Care Coordinator Rosilyne Wright, Bridge Commissary Kitchen delivered the lunches to seniors at Harbour View and Nevin, while Linda Whitmore of the Santa Fe Neighborhood Council organized the meal pick-up and delivery for the Santa Fe neighborhood, where the kitchen is located. In addition to the aforementioned community members, Mitchell gave special props to Jeff Wright, who funded the extensive effort.
Now that Smith has stepped away from cooking to reopen a hair salon—Bossy Braids—on Bridge’s creative campus, and with the pandemic outlook improving, the senior meal effort is beginning to level off, said Mitchell. However, “donating to food insecure folks will be ongoing for us,” he added.
To learn more about Bridge Commissary Kitchen, click here.