In The News

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Mary's Kitchen offers homeless warm food, goodies for the longest night

Mary's Kitchen offers homeless warm food, goodies for the longest night

ORANGE -- On a rainy Wednesday, 200 homeless people took temporary shelter under tarps and waited in line for hot chicken soup, roast beef, pumpkin pie and more at Mary's Kitchen.

Volunteer Mary Arciero has been a fixture at the nonprofit in Orange every Wednesday for a decade.

Arciero understands hunger. She lived it at age 4, when a war in Italy forced her family to beg for food on the streets. At school, four tablespoons of soup was their daily ration. The misery lasted a year, but its effects have lasted a lifetime for Arciero, who is not shy about recruiting others to the cause of feeding the hungry.

On this winter solstice, the longest day of the year, her four grandchildren, three daughters and husband, staffers from St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, helped cook and serve 75 pounds of tri-tip, 60 pounds of roasted potatoes, 64 pints of bell peppers, 64 pints of mushrooms, chicken soup and pumpkin pie with a cheerful, "Merry Christmas" as carolers serenaded.

Clothes, shoes and holiday stockings filled with sundries were distributed to those who came out.

One of the homeless people at the meal was James Thorne, 34, who lost his job and later his apartment. Thorne, his wife, Amie, and their two children go between living in their Saturn car and staying at the Orange County Cold Weather Armory Emergency Shelter in Santa Ana.

Thorne says he remains hopeful that tomorrow will bring opportunities for his family.

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