Carol Ragan was born and raised in San Bernardino, California, to her loving parents Jim and Arlene Ragan. After attending Aquinas High School and graduating from the University of Southern California, Carol started teaching in Boise, Idaho, where she became active in many organizations involving children.
Carol was a member of the National Program of Big Brothers and Sisters and was a big sister to a 9-year-old girl in Boise. In her spare time, she volunteered to help students with educational difficulties. She loved the outdoors and worked with several ecological groups to help stabilize the environment in Idaho. Her main project was the Wolf Release and Recovery Program. Carol was also the Volunteer Educational Coordinator for the children of Boise.
In 1996, a drunk driver near Bellevue, Washington, tragically struck and killed Carol. The last words in her private journal were, "Ask your heart what is right and follow it," Carol's Kitchen's motto to this day.
Carol's ongoing philosophy was to help those less fortunate than herself.
On April 21, 1998, Jim and Arlene started feeding the hungry in her honor. That day, Carol's Kitchen served just more than 30 meals in Banning. The very first dish they prepared was chicken enchilada casserole, Carol's favorite. Each year, on the anniversary of its founding, Carol's Kitchen serves chicken enchilada casserole to remember Carol and her service to the community.
Today, Carol's Kitchen operates 4 days a week in Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon and serves thousands of meals each year. Since opening in 1998, the kitchen has served more than 700,000 meals.
To strengthen the San Gorgonio Pass of Southern California by ensuring the men, women and children of our communities do not go hungry—regardless of their age, religion, cultural background, employment or economic status, and physical and mental abilities.
FAQs (frequently asked questions)
What is Carol's Kitchen?
Carol's Kitchen is a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the hungry in the San Gorgonio Pass. We are not your ordinary soup kitchen, thanks to the quality products and donations we use to prepare meals and donate clothing.
Where is the San Gorgonio Pass?
The San Gorgonio Pass is about 80 miles east of Los Angeles and 26 miles west of Palm Springs in Riverside County, California. We are also known as the Beaumont-Banning Pass, located where the 10 and 60 freeways join.
Are there requirements for anyone to eat at Carol's Kitchen?
If you are hungry, you are welcome to eat at Carol's Kitchen. While that is our main requirement, we also require parents to accompany their children when eating at the kitchen.
Who funds Carol's Kitchen?
Individuals, charitable organizations, corporate sponsors help Carol's Kitchen to continue feeding the hungry.
What types of meals do you serve to the hungry?
We serve nutritious hot meals, which we prepare each day using quality products and ingredients. Our meals include a protein, vegetables, salads, juice and coffee. At some of our kitchens, in addition to the hot meals we offer to adults, we provide peanut butter and jelly or coldcut sandwiches with a snack to the children.
What types of donations do you accept?
We accept monetary donations and in-kind donations such as food, clothing, kitchen supplies and small household goods. For safety reasons, we do not accept electrical items. Learn more.
I would like to donate to Carol's Kitchen, what should I do?
You can send your monetary donations via mail or by visiting one of our kitchens. If you have an in-kind donation, we can arrange for pick-up or you can deliver. We also accept gift donations, which you contribute for your loved ones. Learn more. Our Tax ID No. is 33-0819778.
How can I volunteer at Carol's Kitchen?
We always seek dedicated volunteers to work at the kitchens and behind the scenes. To learn more about volunteering and to submit a form online, click here.
More about Carol's story:
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Carol's Kitchen, Inc. is a Southern California soup kitchen, feeding the hungry in Riverside County. Visit or volunteer at any of our locations, all located near the 10 freeway, about 86 miles east of Los Angeles, 26 miles west of Palm Springs, in Beaumont, Banning and Cabazon. Donate now.
Carol's Kitchen, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Tax ID No. 33-0819778.
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