A number of hundred people, some aged, some with households and a few homeless, gathered just lately in a big eating corridor adorned with balloons inside a warehouse in Oceanside for a spaghetti lunch, that for a lot of was their solely meal of the day.
A volunteer introduced that somebody sitting within the room was being served Brother Benno’s four millionth meal.
The meals have been a labor of affection because the nonprofit opened a soup kitchen 34 years in the past in a cottage on Minnesota Avenue and named it after Brother Benno, a monk from the Prince of Peace Abbey, who gave out bread he baked to poor neighbors.
Impressed by Benno, Oceanside couple Harold and Kay Kutler served their first meal to a gaggle of 18 homeless males on Oct. 21, 1983.
Since then, the Oceanside nonprofit has not solely served meals six days every week, however has helped hundreds of parents flip their lives round by means of its packages.
The nonprofit runs a 26-week, 12-step restoration program and operates seven restoration houses, three homes for ladies in its alcohol and restoration packages and 4 homes for males.
Program members work on the Brother Benno Middle at 3260 Manufacturing Ave. and 10,000-sq.-foot thrift retailer at 3955 Mission Ave., in change for meals, housing and clothes whereas attending AA conferences and receiving mentoring.
Roughly 250 volunteers assist out every month on the nonprofit that additionally distributes requirements starting from sack lunches, clothes and haircuts to showers, emergency rental help, bus passes and prescriptions.
“I’ve had many individuals come as much as me and say, “Thank goodness you guys are right here,” stated longtime volunteer Suzy Martinek. “This can be a particular place — the employees and volunteers actually need to be right here and assist people who come.”
After making the spaghetti lunch and serving the four miillionth meal on Feb. eleven, head prepare dinner Craig “Pelon” Mercer advised Martinek, “I completely love being right here — working and figuring out what we do right here lifts individuals up. Our job is to encourage people, not discourage people. Not everyone seems to be homeless. Many are simply individuals making an attempt to get by. If it wasn’t for Brother Benno’s, individuals would not be consuming. That is my life.”