Monica Tomchek has been running the SoCal Harvest Crusade kitchen for 10 years and counting! Her ministry is called Monica’s Munchies. “I love to cook for my family, I’m Mexican and Jewish so I grew up around vats of food,” she laughs.
When Pastor Carmen Rieg asked if she and her husband, Jeff, would be willing to take on doing the barbecues for the satellite churches, they were eager and willing to serve! “We did the satellites for five years and then Pastor Carmen asked us to take over the kitchen for the crusade. We feed the workers, the volunteers, the musicians, and the pastors—we feed anyone here that is working.”
So, what exactly does it take to run a kitchen for hundreds of volunteers at one of Anaheim Stadium’s biggest weekend events?
“In June I get my budget, so that’s when I start shopping and I shop every week leading up to the crusade. Then we come in the Tuesday before crusade weekend and build our kitchen and set up . . . I have a team of 30 people helping me, a team who does all the chopping, a team that does all the serving, a team that does all the cooking, and a team that does all the barbecuing. They all work really hard and without them, we couldn’t make this happen.” They typically feed around 150 people every day and 450 people every night over the course of the crusade weekend.
Running the kitchen also gives her the opportunity to get creative and have fun! Every year she changes the theme and even though her menu typically remains the same, she’ll change a sauce or tweak a recipe. “My favorite theme is red, white, and blue which I do every other year, but this year’s theme is tie-dye, based on Pastor Greg’s book Jesus Revolution.”
This year was a first for the SoCal Harvest Crusade. On Friday night, active-duty military and veteran men and women, were served in the kitchen. Monica said with a smile, that they fed “close to 1000 people, which is the most we’ve ever fed in one day! It’s made me lean hard into the Lord to trust Him to get it done and I’m so honored to have the opportunity to feed the military. This was my absolute favorite year!