Brother Benno’s was started by Harold and Kay Kutler as a Soup Kitchen in downtown Oceanside. They named it after Brother Benno Garrity, a Benedictine monk who was well known for his tireless service to the poor in the Oceanside area. The first meal was served on October 21, 1983; and Brother Benno himself made a big cauldron of soup at his abbey and brought it to the little house that bore his name.
For the first few years, those who came to the Kitchen were mainly street people. Now most of our guests are the working poor (parents and children who struggle on a daily basis for their most basic needs), the disabled, and low-income senior citizens. In order to provide these needs, Brother Benno’s has expanded its services beyond food (see Services).
In 1991, the Brother Benno Foundation moved its services to its present location, a 12,000-square foot warehouse at 3260 Production Avenue in Oceanside, which has been divided into a dining room, full kitchen, children’s reading room, administrative offices, shower room, clothing room, computer lab, chapel, restrooms, and warehouse space.