Carol’s Kitchen volunteers

Carol’s Kitchen volunteers serve food at its newest location, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Church, in Banning.

Carol’s Kitchen is celebrating its 20th year of feeding the hungry in the San Gorgonio Pass Area with a gala benefit Saturday Oct. 20 in the Morongo Grand Ballroom at Morongo Casino.

Cocktails start at 5 p.m., along with a dinner and a silent auction.

The non-profit organization was founded by Jim and Arlene Ragan after their daughter Carol died in a motorcycle accident. Carol was constantly giving money to the homeless so they could eat meals.

After she died, the Ragans came up with the idea to fulfill their daughter’s mission in life by starting the non-profit organization.

On Oct. 20, Arlene and Jim will be recognized at the event. Jim Ragan will be honored posthumously.

Also being honored is Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, said Ann Blair, event chairperson.

“We want it mostly to be entertainment, but we want to honor them,” Blair said.

Comedian Sunda Croonquist will emcee the event.

Musical guests will be

Shaken Not Stirred.

Choice of meals will include a New York Steak, Four cheese tortellini, Panko herb crusted sea bass, and Lemon-thyme chicken breast.

Cost is $150 per person.

Blair said that Carol’s Kitchen’s goal is 250 attendees.

Blair became involved in the non-profit more than two years ago and volunteers at the Cabazon location as a server every Thursday.

Between the six locations in Banning, Beaumont and Cabazon, Carol’s Kitchen serves 1,000 free meals a week in the San Gorgonio Pass area.

Blair said it costs $2 per meal and Carol’s Kitchen’s annual budget is $120,000.

Carol’s Kitchen does not receive government funding. The gala benefit and the annual car show are some of the major ways that the non-profit raises money so they can continue feeding the hungry.

Blair said that sponsors and donations also help defray the costs.

Blair said there are 130 volunteers at the six kitchens. The new executive director is Lance Sanchez.

Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at


Staff Writer

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