Friday, November 14, 2014

Mary's Kitchen Recap

This morning I had the pleasure of volunteering at Mary's Kitchen (, a volunteer run organization that provides food, showers and other services to the homeless. Established in 1984 by Mary McAnena, the kitchen has been operating for 30 years thanks to the hard work of volunteers and donations by individuals, churches, grocery stores and corporations. Although Mary has passed, volunteers continue to contribute their time, money and positive vibes to help those in need.

As soon as I walked to the front gates of the facility, I could see individuals patiently waiting for the kitchen to open despite the looming clouds and predicted showers. I was allowed to enter and met Helen Anderson, a Vice Chairperson. Upon entering unfamiliar territory, I was warmly welcomed by a group of women already working to prepare bagged meals. After washing up, I started preparing snack bags as the kitchen came to life. Men and women of different ages arrived to help and others passed through to assist in other areas of daily operations. Watching the interactions of volunteers, I could easily see there was camaraderie among them. After conversing with those nearby, I discovered many volunteers were there on a regular basis, at least once a week, helping where they could. Despite the many hands present, there was plenty to do. I found myself packing meals, cutting vegetables and washing dishes. Before I knew it, 4 hours had passed and I had gotten to know the a handful of volunteers to find some were students and faculty from Chapman! Upon leaving the kitchen, the individuals that were waiting outside were being offered food, drinks and a movie to watch. Mary's kitchen had truly provided what was needed - a place for the homeless. It was an eye opening experience to see the amount of work that is accomplished on a daily basis by selfless individuals for the benefit of the hungry and homeless.

I encourage you all to make the time to help out Mary's Kitchen or any other organization dedicated to serving the community. Although we may think about volunteering at soup kitchens around the holidays, it's important to remember people are always hungry and help is needed more than once a year.

Have a great weekend!

- Charles

P.S. Sorry we didn't have any pictures, we were too busy helping the kitchen!