he serves up chili feasts
When hundreds of hungry people stream into Victoria Cool Aid's Downtown Community Centre on Saturday, it will be the 10th annual version of the Bandit Benefit Chili Supper and Concert.
Raschig's story starts out depressingly familiar. He came from a good family in Ontario, but as a teen in the 1990s found himself on the street different pandora charms in Toronto, bedding down in back alleys.
Knowing his life was going nowhere there, he headed west.
"With long hair and guitar and a backpack, I set off across country." He made it to Vancouver, glimpsed the Downtown Eastside, but was street savvy enough not to get sucked into that whirlpool.
Instead, at 17, he came to Victoria, sleeping in the parks, busking on the street corners more often than begging. It was safer to live rough back then. "There wasn't the infestation of really crappy street drugs that are out here now."
Eventually, he made it back to Ontario, graduated from school, began life as a long distance trucker, all the while working on music, too.
But then things went backward. A breakup left him on the street again although this time he was sleeping in his Pontiac Grand Am, not in an alley.
He climbed up again, became a graphic designer, then headed back to Victoria. ("It's mystical. It's beautiful. People are kind.")
He was driving dump trucks when trouble struck. A car crash in which he was a passenger left him badly hurt. Uninsured, he couldn't work, couldn't pay the rent, lost his brand new pandora bracelet sale Harley and found himself homeless, couch surfing with friends.
Which is where the story gets weird, in a good way.
Feeling dark and broken, and realizing others were in the same boat, Raschig decided to make something positive happen. "I said: 'Let's feed people. Let's take care of others.' "
He approached Donna McKenna at Cool pandora rings jewelry Aid, said he wanted to throw a chili fest. Then he went to Sysco Victoria, the food suppliers, and got them on board. They have been on board ever since. This week found Raschig now a pony tailed and tattooed 40 year old, a Cowichan jacket over a denim shirt and Grateful Dead tee having just picked up a load of supplies from Sysco.
This is a key to the Bandit Benefit: No money changes hands. Everything is donated. Cakes Etc. does these amazing desserts, and Discovery Coffee provides java. Country Grocer gives the bread, Save on Foods does gift cards for extras such as coffee whitener and candy canes for the kids, and Wholesale Club provides bowls, cutlery, napkins, stuff like that. Zion Sound does the sound for the event and Graphic FX prints posters, which Raschig pins up in places where the street community will see them.
Cool Aid is providing its community centre at 755 Pandora Ave. Dec. 10. Raschig's girlfriend Kelley Orr shoulders much of the load, and other friends pitch in to do the cooking and serving.
Four bands will perform, including Raschig's Turnpike Bandits country rock outfit.
The result is a free meal and concert geared to "anyone needing a little light and love in their lives." Between 300 and 600 show up in a given year.
"Everybody's welcome and nobody waits in a line. You're served as though you're in a restaurant," Raschig says.
His experience on the streets shows. There's shopping cart parking out back. The chili benefit always precedes the last Welfare Wednesday before Christmas, when the need is greatest. Volunteers take leftover food onto the street, feed the homeless where they find them.
Raschig has a steady day job, gets to play music, too.
It's easy pandora australia buy online to forget where he was when he came up with the chili idea. Picture this, says Cool Aid's McKenna: a jobless, homeless young guy with little track record in Victoria, relying on nothing but his sincerity, persuading sponsors to get behind his idea.
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