The orange soup kitchen that has fed the homeless for decades is fighting to stay open despite the order to close


A soup kitchen in Orange that has been forced by the city to close its doors by Saturday – despite calls from homeless people and volunteers mobilizing to keep the community institution open – may remain open at least a little longer a long time, a judge said on Friday.

Mary’s Kitchen has served homeless thousands of meals a month for over 20 years, first opened in the 1980s, then moved to its current location on West Struck Avenue in 1994. The nonprofit organization runs on donations and feeds people six days a week. , also offering a place to shower and do laundry.

But the institution is on city property and local officials have sent Mary’s Kitchen a termination letter saying they have to hand over the premises – three years earlier than expected – because there have been too many calls. to the police on the spot in recent years.

A soup kitchen lawyer filed a restraining order in court to try to prevent the city from shutting down the kitchen on Saturday. If Mary’s Kitchen closes, it will put homeless people at risk, the lawyer said, adding that it is the only place in the area that helps adults without young children.

“Our city’s legal counsel has reviewed the case and believes it to be without merit,” city spokesman Paul Sitkoff said in a statement to KTLA on Friday morning. “We are currently preparing an appropriate response. As far as we’re concerned, that doesn’t change the situation, and we expect Mary’s Kitchen to vacate town property by this Saturday, September 18th at the latest.

But later on Friday, a Santa Ana judge granted a temporary restraining order, allowing Mary’s Kitchen to remain open until a hearing for a preliminary injunction on September 30.

Sitkoff told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that the city would comply with the temporary restraining order.

Homeless people who frequent Mary’s Kitchen say they desperately want to keep the place open.

“I don’t want to start crying because she’s done a lot for us,” says Victoria Richardson, who is homeless, of CEO Gloria Suess. “This lady saw me blind, she saw me with holes in my feet… She went way beyond what you can even imagine.”

“Gloria is like our mom. All homeless people feel the same. They just love it, ”added volunteer Michaela Aherne. “She does so many things. … She pays for people’s parking tickets, she pays for their legal problems… If you ask her for something, she will give it to you.

But at a city council meeting this week, Orange Mayor Mark Murphy and city council member Chip Monaco said there was an increase in crime on the street where the kitchen is located, reported the Times.

“A civil society needs rules and laws, as well as compassion,” Monaco said. “Mary’s Kitchen has become a place where compassion ignores the law.

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