Anonymous donor gives $70,000 to homeless shelter for mobile kitchen

Published Oct. 4, 2019

A new mobile kitchen was unveiled this week that will help The Gathering Inn serve up more nutritious, hot meals – but also offer work experience opportunities for their 100 homeless guests at the Mid Placer shelter facility.

The kitchen, which was funded by a donation from an anonymous community member, made its debut Oct. 2 as The Gathering Inn CEO Keith Diederich was joined by his family and shelter guests in Auburn to cook up the inaugural meal: fajitas. 

“Everyone has been fantastic in supporting this project to bring more nutritious meals to the people we serve,” Diederich said shortly before donning his apron and getting to work. 

The 53-foot, $70,000 kitchen features two double convection ovens, a griddle, stock pot range, six burner stove and many other supplies, some of which were donated by community partners including St. Teresa of Avila, Lifehouse Church and the local Latter-day Saints community.

Previously, the shelter had relied on community organizations to prepare food in their own facilities. Now, community organizations will be able to cook onsite at the shelter, with help from homeless guests. This will help improve food quality and reduce costs, as meals will not need to be transported from offsite. 

In partnership with Placer County’s Environmental Health division, shelter guests will also engage in workforce training related to food services to obtain ServSafe Food Safety certifications. 

Community sponsors whose pro bono efforts were also key to the kitchen’s opening include FM Booth, Whittington Electric, Stantec, Teichert, Robinson Sand and Gravel, Kaiser Permanente, Capital Valley Electric, Ceronix and Flyers, among others. 

“It’s amazing what can be done when you get all the right people working together,” said District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “I want to congratulate The Gathering Inn and all their community partners on their efforts and success.”

For those wanting to support the shelter with donations, call 530-885-8108 and ask for Michael.