Giving Back

Christine's Kitchen in West Orange Offers a Helping Hand

The author, right, helps to serve lunch. Credits: Clarissa Ford
Ramesh Rugbeer of Maplewood plays for the crowd. Credits: Clarissa Ford
St. Stephen's of Millburn provides the food. Credits: Clarissa Ford

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Christine’s Kitchen is a program that serves free hot lunches weekly at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street in West Orange.

Each Saturday, 75 to 100 people wrap around the corner of Guild Hall to have an opportunity to eat a free, hot lunch. Healthy and balanced lunches include a choice of at least two entrees, vegetables, a side salad, fruit, bread, and desserts. Participants are given containers to take home any remaining food.

Rotating churches, synagogues, or service organizations provide food and staffing for Christine's Kitchen. Members of Holy Trinity are present to help supervise the luncheon and offer support.  It's not uncommon for West Orange residents to drop off food and supplies or stop in to volunteer with the visiting group.

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Lunch is served from noon to 1 p.m. St. Stephen's of Millburn provided the food and manpower on Jan. 4, and 16-year old Ramesh Rugbeer of Maplewood played his guitar for the crowd.  Rugbeer has been volunteering every Saturday for the past five years. Sounds of his guitar and bongo drum can be heard down the hall as he plays for participants as they eat. “My dad wanted me to practice in front of a non-judgmental crowd,” says Rugbeer. He adds that the experience has helped him to play better in front of a crowd of people. Although he has been playing guitar and the bongo since the age of 9, his contribution to the soup kitchen is not just limited to his music. After he finishes playing, he helps distribute granola bars and drinks for the people to take home.

Julie Ehlers, Holy Trinity Supervisor (and in-charge for scheduling groups), said, “Christine’s Kitchen, the soup kitchen here at Holy Trinity, is a wonderful benefit for the community. At least we know that everyone here has a generous meal and extra food as well.”

To learn more information about volunteering and donations, email


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