2018 MARCH - APRIL
Victoria BC Mother's Kitchen
"It is not what we receive, but what we are able to give, that determines the value of our life." - Amma
Amma's children wanted to bring Amma's teachings and example of service to life.
This humble prayer marked the very beginning of Victoria Mother's Kitchen in 2002. The devotees came together. One devotee, Hans, had experience working with food and he helped establish the beginning stages: purchasing items to use to prepare the sandwiches, and knowing the needs of this vulnerable community.
For the first while about 8 or 10 of Amma's children met in Bryan's house on Saturday mornings. We put together some tables to make a long assembly line, and played Amma's bhajans on a ghetto blaster while we made 200 to 300 sandwiches.
Over time, Open Door, a homeless shelter, asked us to switch to Sundays, when they were closed and there was little free food available downtown.
Reverend Al, a well know pastor, who ran Open Door, offered to support us with the use of their kitchen and funds to pay for groceries we needed. We had also asked for support from Cobb's bakery, which supplies the bread and continues to supply the bread to this day.
We had also had Amma's blessing on which ingredients we should use in the sandwiches. Amma's blessing continued to guide her children. By then we were making sandwiches in a proper kitchen and handing them out to a line of people outside the church.
Open Door, our first venue, and meal preparation
In 2007, two community groups came together to start Ourplace, a large homeless shelter. This heralded a change for our seva: more funding became available and the resources to allow people to come in from the cold and have a sandwich and soup. To this day we still get the compliment that this is the best meal they get. It is Amma's unseen hand that has blessed this community. I cannot say this enough as I have seen Mother's Kitchen grow into what it is today.
Recently we added cookie baking to this seva. We now make 500 cookies, which are then donated to Reverend Al for the Dandelion Society. Reverend Al, who helped this project from the very beginning, now reaches out to the hard-to-reach homeless. He starts his tour of commonly used spaces at 4:30 am to bring hot coffee and Amma's cookies, and his warmth, to those in need.
Mother's kitchen now starts with baking 500 cookies every Sunday. Afterward, we make 450-500 sandwiches. We also have a tray of sweets and soups to offer. What makes this so unique is that Amma's children meet so many people from all over the community who come together with the same intention to serve those in need. It creates a sense of unity when people from all different faiths come together to serve.
We play bhajans, which can be heard as you come up to do your seva. People coming for the first time learn about Amma or have heard of Her and want to be a part of this project.
When we have completed our seva, we all come together, with hands at our hearts. We start with the Sanskrit Prayer and then a Christian prayer. Amma's presence and the presence of Christ are simultaneously felt deeply within our hearts.
Amma's children pray that we can continue to serve Amma, by serving those in need.
Mother's Kitchen — Our Beginning...In 1996, people inspired by Amma's teachings about serving the poor asked her if they should find a place with a real need and try to help. When Amma said yes, they found a small soup kitchen in west Oakland serving free meals every weekday while operating on a shoestring budget. Mother's Kitchen began serving hot meals there twice a month, soon adding bagged lunches too. Very soon, Mother's Kitchens began popping up all over the map, first in Dallas and Seattle, then Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, and we are now at 50 plus in the United States, Canada and Central America, serving over 150,000 meals annually. Our bi-monthly Newsletter will highlight the wide variety of Mother's Kitchens across the country.
Serving the Hungry . Helping the Homeless . Spreading Amma's Love .