There’s just something about Chef Ron, Kitchen Manager at Raleigh Rescue Mission. Clients flourish under his patient tutelage, team members love working with him, and staff members rave about the consistently delicious meals for all. For Ron, it’s simply being who God has called him to be during this season in his life.
Born and raised in Raleigh, Ron’s relationship with the Mission started over 20 years ago, when he and his wife provided transportation to clients who wanted to worship at Lincoln Park, Ron’s church since childhood. After high school, Ron became a self-taught pastry chef and for many years, he received glowing accolades from well-known restaurants and customers. But when he saw the job posting at the Mission, he knew it was time for him to give the accolades to others – and to do that in the best way he knew how – with food.
“My work journey has always been in food,” reflects Ron. “Food is one of those universal things that draws people together. At the Mission, clients are in a new season. I believe God has something greater for them here, if they can stay focused, tackle the obstacles, just do it. In the kitchen, sometimes I hear ‘I don’t want to be here, or I can’t,’ but I know it’s just an opportunity for ‘I CAN.’ Little by little, I get to see clients take ownership, maybe remember a recipe from their childhood, re-create it, teach others to make it, start to blossom.”
Ron enjoys when (CEO) Mr. Luckett and others ask, ‘who made this?’ He has no problem stepping back and saying, ‘this client or that client made it.’ “My job is to teach and empower, not take credit. The kitchen has to be a place where we don’t judge. We all have scars. We work together and we produce wonderful food.”
Three staff members and numerous clients assist Ron in preparing 3 meals a day, every day. He orders needed food staples but praises several volunteers and churches who donate a variety of fresh food and key ingredients weekly. Throughout the challenges of the pandemic, the Mission has been blessed with what is needed. Ron says assuredly, “If we have 50 clients, we have enough. If we have 150 clients, we have enough. God will supply. He does supply. Once it’s time to perform, we will have what we need. It’s always bigger than us. Always.”
“The amazing thing is, when clients come through the front door of this little brown building on the corner in downtown Raleigh, they receive what God has always meant for them to receive – the compassion, the love, that thing in one’s heart that says you are more than what already has been spoken into you. I just try to encourage them to embrace that, to allow it to manifest itself. When I talk to clients, I just try to be real. At Raleigh Rescue Mission, I am able to witness transformation and see how God works through people.”
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6 KJV)