At Hot Bread Kitchen, when the world feels uncertain, we try to find the bright spots. We’re lucky to be surrounded by so many of them: our members—who we call Breadwinners. Carolina, a Breadwinner who joined Hot Bread Kitchen in January, is one such ray of light. A single mother of three, Carolina immigrated from Mexico when she was 23, joining a husband in a country she’d never visited. Her husband was physically and emotionally abusive, forcing her to stay home and prohibiting her from learning English. When he eventually left the family, taking with him all the money they had, Carolina found herself isolated and struggling to survive, both physically and emotionally; she felt “so alone and sad.”
“Hot Bread Kitchen gave me more confidence in myself and the opportunity to learn that it’s never too late to do whatever you want. My first paycheck, I couldn’t believe it. That day, my fridge wasn’t empty anymore. I remember my son’s face. I can’t explain how my heart felt at that moment.”Carolina, Hot Bread Kitchen Breadwinner
Food was one of the things that saved her. She began selling cakes and “lonches,” or Mexican sandwiches, to her neighbors, but was still staring down a possible eviction. That’s when a social worker told her about Hot Bread Kitchen. “I didn’t have any money and had to choose between paying the rent, my bills, or buying food,” Carolina said. “I knew I needed to do something to make my kids feel safe in their home. And at that moment, Hot Bread Kitchen called me saying I had an interview.”
Carolina enrolled in our Culinary Fundamentals Program and English classes, where she professionalized her kitchen skills and enhanced her English proficiency. She’s one of 400Breadwinners to come to Hot Bread Kitchen in 2023, a 27% increase since we expanded our program offerings last year. In our kitchen, Carolina met dozens of other people like her—mothers, immigrants, survivors—and started to believe in herself. After graduating, Hot Bread Kitchen placed her in a job, where she quickly became known to her colleagues as “Doña Carolina,” a title of respect. Now, she has financial stability for her family and a path forward in her career.
“When you are feeling like you don’t know what to do, Hot Bread Kitchen gives you the opportunity to find something for you, to find jobs and to get the skills to get those jobs… But most importantly, Hot Bread Kitchen is for everyone to get a good life.”Carolina
When we meet members in our kitchen, we meet them where they are. Will you consider making a contribution to Hot Bread Kitchen so Breadwinners can continue to grow in 2024?
Carolina’s story echoes that of so many Breadwinners we’ve met this year: people who come from across the globe to work together in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding, who are determined to thrive no matter the challenges they face. Our members come to Hot Bread Kitchen for the holistic support anyone needs to achieve financial independence and economic mobility. We’re building a Mosaic of Mobility with members like Carolina, and we need your help. Your generosity helps us to continue transforming lives, and we are relying on it now more than ever.
Thank you for supporting our members and our mission.
Leslie Abbey, Chief Executive Officer