Remembering Elizabeth Kemp, the heart behind Brown Baggers

Spent life helping homeless, migrant workers, children

By KATHLEEN HILL  INDEX-TRIBUNE FOOD & WINE EDITOR

With sad irony, Sonoma Overnight Support sent out its impassioned request for financial

support featuring a lovely photo of Elizabeth Kemp preparing food for Brown Baggers just

as she was passing on to the great feed-the-hungry kitchen in the sky. She was 84.

Elizabeth Kemp was a living saint, but the pope would never hear of her. Her truly Christian

mission was to care for and feed the less fortunate.

Elizabeth started Brown Baggers, which prepares food for homeless and hungry by leaving

cooked food on designated street corners. She served for years on the Vineyard Workers

Services board of directors where she basically instigated the former migrant workers camp

at St. Leo’s where she also cooked meals for those laborers, then as a member of the board

at La Luz where she fought the sale of the camp trailers, helped start the Haven homeless

shelter and the free “soup kitchen” Fridays that started at La Luz Center and the free

Wednesday lunches at the Grange, and led the homeless count in Sonoma Valley.

Elizabeth also served several years on the St. Francis school board and worked to raise funds

for an emergency shelter for women and children, all while hosting a rare infant daycare center

which progressed into a homework club as her clients grew up – while raising her own family

with husband James Kemp.

Brown Baggers is now part of SOS, so while the family hasn’t designated gifts, you might donate to Sonoma Overnight Support, P. O. Box 748, Sonoma, CA 95476. Notes can be sent to the Kemp Family, 1281 Felder Road, Sonoma, CA 95476.

Rest in peace, dear Elizabeth.

Her truly Christian mission was to care for and feed the less fortunate.

Elizabeth at the Brown Bag Cafe in 2012

Emmaus Community in Sonoma County                              707 787-8207

P.O. Box 776, Kenwood, CA 95452                                      jimkeck42@gmail.com