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Cocina del Charro owners to be honored for years of feeding the homeless

On Thursday, December 12 at 9 a.m. “Mission to Our Escondido Neighbors” will present an award to José and Erik Monforte, owners of Cocina del Charro restaurant, at their Escondido location of 890 W. Valley Parkway.

 The Escondido Community Outstanding Service Award is presented in  appreciation for the many years of feeding the homeless each Saturday in Escondido from 2008 to 2019. For over a decade, Cocina del Charro has faithfully prepared a hot meal early each Saturday and through many hands delivered the food to those less fortunate in our community.

Many of the homeless will recognize the smiling faces of those who participated with Cocina del Charro to be a blessing as they pass out hot meals. Christina, Tabitha and Keith are a few of those faces that are well known and loved, as well as many helpers. 

“Mission to Our Escondido Neighbors” was born out of volunteering to help serve a Cocina del Charro prepared hot breakfast to our local homeless in Escondido with Keith Sinclair.

Lonny Beamer of Mission to Our Escondido Neighbors told The Times-Advocate: “After sitting under the instruction and teaching of Jesus in the scriptures for many years from our pastor, Ted Hamilton at New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido, my wife, Marcy and I were looking for different ways to give back to help others in our community. Our desire is to show the love of God and His grace that has moved our hearts when we found the forgiveness and acceptance offered in knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord.”

Beamer added, “While serving a hot meal of breakfast burritos, rice and beans, chips and their famous salsa, we witnessed men and women who were someone’s son or daughter – people like us – receive this food with very grateful hearts and words of thanks. We could see that to some this might be the only full hot meal they had each week. Various churches came each week to help Keith serve. These churches also came with such items as clothes or toiletries to pass out to grateful hands. It was a blessing to witness the love of God being shown so freely to help a stranger in need with no strings attached. That is when the Lord spoke to my heart about these people who sometimes live in the shadows and gave me the desire to let them know they are not forgotten.”

Thanksgiving and Christmas were almost here, so the group decided to do what they could to make a difference in as many lives of the homeless as they could. 

“The love of God compelled us to act when we saw another human in need,” said Beamer. “Some local churches heard about our project to give care packages to the homeless and donated such things as shampoo, soap, socks, Christmas cards in stamped envelopes to send home, and even sleeping bags for everyone. Walmart in Escondido granted $1000 and supplied shirts and underwear; New Life Presbyterian Church’s deacons granted $1000 to purchase Vons food cards so each could get a hot meal from their deli for Thanksgiving. Truly, many hands came together to donate and give as the Lord moved their hearts for His purpose, and 75 care packages were passed out the Saturday before Thanksgiving.”

There will be another care package distribution with backpacks on December 21, the Saturday before Christmas. The Ladle Ministry from San Diego has donated many items including blankets and tarps for the coming cold weather. 

“We are prayerfully asking the Lord for $10  gift cards to places like Walmart and Target so each can pick out a gift of their choosing,” said Beamer.

He concluded, “Because it is a hands-on ministry, the desire of “Mission to Our Escondido Neighbors” is to give necessities to those in need in our community as a witness of God’s love – a love that changes lives.

“Our prayer is that all come to know the love of God found in Jesus Christ, the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas; Jesus is the reason for the season.”

For more information or to make donations contact Lonny Beamer at 760-520-9797.

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