Updated Kitchen, Uplifted Lives

Updated Kitchen, Uplifted Lives

Grant Year: 2020 | Focus Area: Health & Wellness | Grant Amount: $106,000 | Grant Status: In Progress

Updated Kitchen, Uplifted Lives

Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries, Inc. dba Bright Bridge Ministries

Bright Bridge Ministries (BBM) is a non-profit agency that began as an outreach ministry of Richards Memorial United Methodist Church with the name Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries (PUMCM) in 2007. PUMCM was founded to address the many faces of hunger in Pensacola as bagged lunches were handed out to people who approached the church in need of food. PUMCM was rebranded to BBM in 2019. The mission of BBM is to provide food, housing and spiritual support to individuals in need. They treat people with dignity, care and acceptance to empower and assist them in their journey toward recovery and renewal. They have grown over the years into an organization that addresses more than just the hunger of those in the local area. In addition to meals, BBM’s programs assist individuals with mail service, hygiene products, transitional housing, clothing vouchers, benefits assistance, education classes and recovery group meetings. They assist Escambia County's vulnerable and under-resourced residents: homeless individuals and families, children living in poverty, veterans, people with mental illness, former inmates, substance abusers and others in need.

Project Description

IMPACT 100 funds will be used to improve the well-being of people living in the Pensacola area through expanding BBM’s capacity to provide additional hot, healthy meals to those in need. Project funds will be used to update the kitchen at BBM to a functioning, high-capacity space that is able to effectively and safely prepare and serve 250 meals daily. Existing kitchen appliances will be removed and replaced with ranges with appropriate exhaust hoods, refrigerator, a heating cabinet and air curtains to meet sanitation certifications. The floor will be replaced with an epoxy that is easy to clean. Work surfaces will be replaced with stainless steel surfaces and an additional handwashing sink. The staff and volunteers will be able to serve in a safer and cleaner environment that meets USDA and OSHA requirements. BBM will hire a new kitchen staff member to prepare and serve an evening meal for residential program participants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for healthy meals for the target population has increased dramatically. The project is sustainable because residents’ meal fees will provide for the ongoing staff costs.

Community Impact

The connection between food insecurity and poor health are closely linked and have been well-documented. Feeding America reports that “people living in food insecure homes experience challenges in accessing nutritious foods and face barriers to consistently adopting healthy eating patterns. A poor-quality diet that lacks nutritious food has detrimental effects on a person's physical and mental health.” This project will help BBM provide vital nutrition to individuals after working at labor-intensive jobs so that they will remain healthy as they build the skills needed for independent living. During meal service, staff can talk with the individuals and get to know their underlying needs. Through this project, BBM will be able to more effectively expand their services to meet the expected long-term needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as provide an additional regularly scheduled meal. BBM’s approach offers a bridge to brighter days, empowering each person with dignity, care and acceptance to equip them for their journey toward recovery and financial stability.