Bill Redding didn’t hear his brother Bob repeatedly call out his name as he washed dishes amid the cacophony of cooking going on at Christ’s Kitchen one weekday.
For decades, the charity has provided between 200-300 hot meals a day to anyone who walks through its doors, and the brothers said they have been blessed to be part of making that happen.
“There’s no questions asked,” Bob said. “Bill Gates could walk in and we’d feed him.”
Trish Hastings, the executive director of Christ’s Kitchen, said people are allowed to get seconds. The nutritious meals could help people save their food stamps or money, which may be harder for some families during the summertime when their children are out of school.
Victoria Advocate readers voted for Christ’s Kitchen the best charity in 2019. Mid-Coast Family Services earned second place and the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent earned third place.
“We support each other in need meeting and they are just absolutely my heroes,” Hastings said of the runners up organizations, led by Ginny Stafford and Robin Cadle, respectively.
Bob started volunteering in 1998. He is a retired real estate broker.
“What brought me in was that I had been very successful in business around here, and I just knew that it was time for me to start giving back,” he said.
Bill started volunteering after he moved from Portland to Victoria in 2004.
“Bob was already here and so I just followed him. Actually that’s the way most people get involved. They have a friend who volunteers here and they recommend it,” Bill said.
The brothers like how every day, there’s a different group of volunteers cooking and serving the community’s most vulnerable – the sick, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.
No one is paid so all the money the charity raises can go toward buying food and maintaining the building where they serve it.
Christ’s Kitchen moved to its current location in 2006. Prior to that, it had operated since 1986 from an old church about a fourth of the size of the present-day building.
And Christ’s Kitchen accepts help as much as it gives it.
Grocery stores donate bread and desserts daily while different restaurants in the area donate their leftover food.
A few people more fortunate than most also helped Christ’s Kitchen purchase an $80,000 walk-in refrigerator and freezer. The appliances were installed two weeks before Hurricane Harvey. Even though Harvey knocked out the power for a while, the freezer never got above freezing and so kept all of its contents. And eventually, someone donated to Christ’s Kitchen a generator.
“God always provides,” Hastings said.