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