Mary's Kitchen in Orange Serves Extra Than Meals because it Adapts to Pandemic

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mary's kitchen orange CA


MAKING SALADS behind masked smiles are (entrance l-r) Mary’s Kitchen employee Paul Triguero, CEO/President Gloria Suess and employee Vincent Lu whereas employee Michelle Barker (rear left) appears on. The nonprofit out of Orange feeds the hungry homeless six days per week and has been doing so for greater than 35 years.


BY LAURIE HANSON • September 5, 2020

(Orange, Ca.) ~ Serving up meals with dignity, Mary’s Kitchen in Orange helps essentially the most weak in society whereas adapting to satisfy their ever-present and rising want throughout COVID-19.

For greater than 35 years, the nonprofit serves “guests” from throughout Orange County and past with sizzling meals six days per week and different providers. With on-going planning and changes, they proceed to serve the homeless, the mentally in poor health and others in want regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The main need [we’ve seen] since the beginning of the pandemic is [providing] a place to eat the packaged breakfasts and hot lunches,” mentioned CEO/President Gloria Suess. “Since they can only come in to pick up the packages and go back outside to eat, [many] hang around outside until the next meal is provided. Hopefully, we will soon be able to have distanced seating for the mealtimes. We’ve purchased an electrostatic sprayer to sanitize everything.”

Guess went on to elucidate that lots of their “guests” can meet the lease, however run brief on their meals funds, one thing Mary’s Kitchen fortunately helps with. For now, all meals is boxed in “to go” containers, whereas all these served should put on masks, use hand sanitizer, and enter 5 at a time for social distancing. All employees wears gloves, masks and have their temperatures checked as properly.

“Mental illness is such a huge problem among the homeless, and what’s the solution?” mentioned Suess. “I make it my mission every day is to serve the less fortunate, to try to make their day and life a little more comfortable, and to give them a true sense of value. I hope they may be able to take care of themselves and have a sense of being worthy of all that God gives them.”

Providers at Mary’s Kitchen embody breakfast, sizzling lunch, and a lunch to go. Additionally they give out meals containers to those that have entry to a microwave, a range and fridge. Each Thursday, clothes is distributed 10 visitors at a time for 10 minutes, with a second entry allowed. The showers are at the moment closed on account of COVID. Visitors can obtain their mail on the nonprofit. A separate fund known as “Mary’s Purse” additionally instantly helps “guests” with incidental bills like fuel for his or her automobiles, eye prescriptions that insurance coverage doesn’t cowl, telephone payments, crucial clothes, storage lease, not often motel rooms, a a technique bus ticket again dwelling, or when just a few {dollars} makes an enormous distinction of their lives, in keeping with Suess.

It was in 1984, that an 82-year-old lady named Mary McAnena discovered her “calling” and first helped a homeless lady in Hart Park in Orange.   

“We started out as Hart for the People, working out of Mary’s home and driving meals to the park, feeding the homeless there,” mentioned Suess. “We continued there till 1995 when our numbers of homeless visitors had been 200, and we had complaints from neighbors within the space. With the assistance from the City of Orange, we leased land, and we had been re-named Mary’s Kitchen.”

Guess began to assist Mary in 1988. On the time, she was an actual property dealer holding an open home on her road when Mary got here in and regarded round. Mary launched herself and Suess already knew of her from studying about her within the native newspaper. Mary recruited her to assist, and on the time Suess thought it could be a as soon as per week dedication.

“Ha! Thirty-two years later, I’m here six days a week,” mentioned Suess.

“This is where God wants me to be,” she continued. “He shows me every day when I listen to the stories of our guests and the sadness of their situation. I try to lift them up with hope and encouragement, to give them a sense of human dignity that they are valued.”

Mary’s Kitchen receives no state or federal funding. They’re supported by means of particular person and firm donations. Donations might be made to Mary’s Kitchen or to Mary’s Purse. For extra info on methods to donate or volunteer, please go to on-line at

Mary’s Kitchen is positioned at 517 W. Struck Ave. Orange, CA 92867, for financial donation please ship to Mary’s Kitchen P.O. Field 4247 Orange, CA 92863-4247.

Materials Donations to Mary’s Kitchen are very a lot appreciated as properly. They’ll additionally use: Socks (new), Underwear (new), Again Packs, Sneakers, Razors, Toiletries (journey measurement), Cleansing Provides, Sleeping Luggage, Denims/Jackets, Bicycles, OCTA Bus Passes 1-day passes, Hair Equipment, Hair Brushes (Small), Hair Care Merchandise, Moisturizers (After Wash), Colognes, and Pay as you go Reward Playing cards.


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