Carol's Kitchen News | Spring 2016
Feeding the Hungry in the San Gorgonio Pass
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Our Mission

To strengthen the San Gorgonio Pass of Southern California by ensuring the men, women and children of our communities do not go hungry—regardless of their age, religion, cultural background, employment or economic status, and physical and mental abilities.

In this issue:

Join Carol's Kitchen on April 21-22 As We Turn 18

Pictured above: Carol's Kitchen founder Arlene Ragan, Carol's mom. Photo taken by Jim Dorsey and published in the December 2015 issue of Inland Empire Magazine. This picture accompanied the article "Living Legacies: Family and friends carry on generous ideals to honor loved ones," written by editor Jeanne Boyer. A photo of the late Carol Ragan, for whom the kitchen is founded, is featured prominently on the heart-shaped sign shown in front of Arlene. Carol's last words in her journal were, "Ask your heart what is right and follow it." 


Eighteen Years of Serving Those in Need

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, Carol's Kitchen will achieve a new milestone—18 years of serving men, women and children in the San Gorgonio Pass area. As with every anniversary since the late Jim Ragan and his wife Arlene founded the kitchen in 1998, Carol's Kitchen will serve chicken enchilada casserole to our guests. This dish was the absolute favorite of Jim and Arlene's daughter Carol, who died tragically in 1996 and for whom the kitchen is named.

Chicken enchilada casserole served as the very first meal—and on each of our anniversaries—is special for several reasons. As Carol's favorite meal, chicken enchilada casserole was what Jim and Arlene prepared for Carol every year on her birthday, April 20, the day before the kitchen's founding date. This dish also symbolizes Carol's Kitchen overarching mission—to serve hot, nutritious and hearty meals to guests of any age and circumstance and to create a family environment through home style cooking. It was Jim Ragan's vision to ensure our guests always feel welcome and at home and to never turn anyone away. 

Anniversary Kitchen Details

We invite you to celebrate our anniversary with us on Thursday April 21, 2016 at our Beaumont or our Cabazon kitchen and on Friday, April 22, 2016 at our Banning location, where the kitchen was originally founded. Join us!

Thursday, April 21
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Cabazon Community Center
50390 Carmen Ave., 
Corner of Broadway and Carmen
Cabazon, CA 92230

Thursday, April 21
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church
1234 Palm Ave. Beaumont, CA 92223

Friday, April 22
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Banning Community Center
789 N. San Gorgonio Ave.,
Corner of Wilson and San Gorgonio
Banning, CA 92220

We will serve chicken enchilada casserole and cake. All our welcome! 

Thanking Our Contributors

El Mariachi Taco Shop, Beaumont

Pictured above: The El Mariachi Taco Shop owners (in front), family and staff members.

In addition to individual donors, agencies and volunteers, local businesses generously donate funds and in-kind products to help Carol's Kitchen feed and clothe those in need. Without this generosity, our kitchen would not have been in a position to survive, let alone thrive, during our current 18-year history. 

One such local business is El Mariachi Taco Shop. This past month, Carol's Kitchen director and Thursday Beaumont kitchen manager Nancy Monge presented a plaque to the owners and staff of this fun and delicious fast-casual eatery. Located at 1410 Beaumont Avenue, in the same shopping center as Stater Bros., El Mariachi provides meals to our guests each month at our Thursday kitchen in Beaumont.
Less than a year after opening, El Mariachi became involved with Carol's Kitchen. Emily heard about us from Shannon at the The Cure Foundation. "We participated in a Cancer Walk with her and she told us about the kitchen and we became involved in May of 2006," she says.

Pictured above: The El Mariachi family and staff with Carol's Kitchen director and Thursday Beaumont kitchen manager Nancy Monge.

The restaurant opened in July 2005. "It was my husband's dream to open a taco shop," recounts owner Emily Maldonado. "(His) first job was at a taco shop and there he became inspired to someday own his own shop." Priding itself as a "Mexican restaurant serving up great home style food," El Mariachi is popular within the local community, attracting students and adults from local schools and businesses in Beaumont and the surrounding areas.

Emily continues to recall when she first heard Carol's story and why her parents opened the kitchen, she felt "touched" and wanted to help feed those in need. "We were raised that way," Emily says. "If my grandmother new of someone who needed food, she fed them. If they needed shelter, she provided it. My mother raised us to be aware of the needs of others." 

El Mariachi is definitely the story of what goes around comes around. Give good, receive good. No surprise the restaurant has experienced continuous success since it opened. Emily says the main reward for her husband and her in supporting Carol's Kitchen is feeling they get by giving back. "Knowing that we are helping others not go without food is a big reward for us," she says.

And all of us at Carol's Kitchen cannot thank them enough.

When asked if she ever hears from folks in the community that we appreciate what they do with Carol's Kitchen, Emily simply replies, "Yes , I do:)."  

Laura May Stewart Foundation

Photo: Taken by Julie Farren, Courtesy of the Record Gazette

On Friday, March 11, 2016, Carol's Kitchen received a grant from the Laura May Stewart Foundation in the amount of $2,250. Pictured above, from left, is Carol's Kitchen Executive Director Alexandra Tompkins, Laura May Stewart Foundation committee member Blanche Teague, Carol's Kitchen Founder Arlene Ragan, and Laura May Stewart Foundation committee member Dan Hughes.

Since its inception in 1974, the Laura May Stewart Foundation has awarded more than $3 million in grant funding to charities throughout Beaumont and Banning—where Carol's Kitchen serves meals to hundreds of those in need each week. In this Oct. 15, 2015  Record Gazette article, David James Heiss tells the story of Laura May Stewart's family, including when her father originally settled in the Pass area in 1878, and how, almost a century later, the foundation came to exist.

"What an honor for Carol's Kitchen to be named a beneficiary of the Laura May Stewart Foundation," says Arlene Ragan, Carol's Kitchen founder. "The fact that a percentage of the Laura May Stewart trust exclusively funds organizations that support the well-being of Banning and Beaumont residents says so much about Ms. Stewart's loyalty to her heritage and the communities in which she and her siblings were raised. We will see to it the funds we receive continue to strengthen the Beaumont and Banning communities—ensuring our guests in those cities are provided the sustenance they need to survive but cannot afford."

Support Carol's Kitchen, Sponsor Top-Line's Show

Promote Your Business and Help Those in Need

Getting excited for the festive, auto-eye-candy charity car and bike show Top-Line Industrial Supply hosts each year? Well now, you can be a part of it. Sponsor the event and at the same time help Carol's Kitchen to sustain its operations. For the past three years, proceeds from Top-Line's annual car and bike show have helped Carol's Kitchen to feed the hungry. This high-profile, popular event attracts car and bike lovers from throughout all of Southern California. Learn more and get started »

Shop on AmazonSmile, Help Feed the Hungry

Do you shop on Amazon? Well, did you know that if you shop on ‪AmazonSmile‬, you can help Carol's Kitchen feed those in need? Operated by ‪Amazon‬, AmazonSmile helps you to enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices and convenient shopping features as on However, shop on AmazonSmile and its foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Carol's Kitchen. Click here to shop with a smile—on AmazonSmile—and help feed those in need. 

What Are Volunteers Up To?

Photo: Dorothy Johnson of the Banning kitchen. Also, our 2015 Stagecoach Days float queen (featured left)!

Follow or become one of our volunteers!

Like us on Facebook for a real-time glimpse of what our volunteers are up to at our kitchens! Even better, join in on the fun by signing up to volunteer at our kitchens. We're still needing folks, especially on Mondays in Cabazon. Thank you to all of our volunteers for their commitment and hard work!

In Memoriam

Everyone at Carol's Kitchen mourns the loss of dear friends who served tirelessly and selflessly as volunteers. We loved them dearly and will always be grateful for their service. We send best wishes to all of their other family members and loved ones in this time of loss.

Marion B. Johnson

A faithful Carol's Kitchen volunteer for many years, Marion B. Johnson was Carol's Kitchen very first volunteer. Marion served primarily at our Banning kitchen. She passed away on March 7, 2016 at the age of 91. Loved and admired by many, Marion volunteered with several other organizations in the Riverside area and received numerous awards and achievements. 

Dana Wendell

Dana Wendell passed away on March 9, 2016. She managed our Monday Beaumont kitchen at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church. She was a great leader who loved people and was an excellent example of a great humanitarian. Before Dana passed away, she asked to be buried in her Carol's Kitchen shirt. We will be forever  moved by this gesture.

Marion J. Willingham

Marion J. ("Willy") Willingham passed away on March 28, 2016. Along with his wife Thelma, he volunteered at our Banning location. In the 4 years he was with us, Willy always served coffee with big smile. Our guests really miss him, as do we. Willy was a retired police officer for the NYPD. Last year, Thelma, our April 2015 featured volunteer and one of our kitchen managers, shared how she and Willy came to the Pass area and started with Carol's Kitchen »

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Meal Counts for Winter 2015-2016

Total: 15,888

Breakdown by month and location:

November 2015
Beaumont: 1,710
Banning: 2,048
Cabazon: 810
Total: 4,568

December 2015
Beaumont: 1,404
Banning: 1,658
Cabazon: 631
Total: 3,693

January 2016
Beaumont: 1,403
Banning: 1,595
Cabazon: 525
Total: 3,523

February 2016
Beaumont: 1,760
Banning: 1,495
Cabazon: 849
Total: 4,104

We are grateful to address hunger by feeding those in need one plate at a time. The Holiday season is traditionally our busiest time of the year. But, as you can see, the need for our services persists even in the earlier months of the year. Thank you to all of our volunteers and sponsors who help to sustain Carol's Kitchen operations. Without you, we would not be able to fulfill our mission of feeding the hungry in the Pass area. 
Copyright © 2016 Carol's Kitchen, All rights reserved.

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