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Classic Club donates meals to Coachella Valley Rescue Mission

The Desert Sun (Palm Springs) logo The Desert Sun (Palm Springs) 1/22/2021 Winston Gieseke, Palm Springs Desert Sun
a person standing in a kitchen preparing food: Classic Club Executive Chef Gerard Brunett works with Assistant General Manager Ruan Krugel packaging burgers to donate to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. © Courtesy Classic Club Classic Club Executive Chef Gerard Brunett works with Assistant General Manager Ruan Krugel packaging burgers to donate to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

There's an expression about getting lemons and making lemonade. But what happens when a restaurant has a full kitchen and not enough people to cook for?

If you're Bellatrix at the Classic Club, you make it an opportunity to give back to the community.

"The project was spearheaded by our food and beverage team because of the shutdown," says Ruan Krugel, Classic Club's assistant general manager. "Our executive chef, Gerard Brunett, came to us and said, 'we have a lot of product that will be lost if we don't do business.'"

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The team, which included Food and Beverage Manager John Stice and Executive Sous Chef Jose Torres, put their heads together and decided to do something worthy with the food. They reached out to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission — not just to donate food but to prepare and donate entire meals.

Over three days during the final week of December, the team cooked and packaged 217 meals: burgers one day, fried chicken with vegetables another. "Our F&B team rallied, and we prepared fresh meals and they came and picked them up," says Krugel. "We also had 17 assorted pies, which we sent along,"

a man standing in front of a bus: Classic Club Executive Sous Chef Jose Torres helps load up meals to be taken to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. © Courtesy Classic Club Classic Club Executive Sous Chef Jose Torres helps load up meals to be taken to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

Since 1971, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission has been a place of refuge for the homeless and those in need. Staff and volunteers serve more than 340,000 meals annually and provide shelter to thousands of men, women and children.

The food project was a success. "The people at the mission were a joy to work with," Krugel says. "They were very gracious."

Classic Club is no stranger to giving back. Its golf course, which was developed and donated by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, has been dedicated to assisting charities since its opening in 2006. "It's so important now to be hands-on," Krugel says. "For the team to be able to come together and put this together, it's humbling because it makes you realize how fortunate you are to work here and to have the opportunity to make a positive impact."

As the philanthropy and special sections editor at The Desert Sun, Winston Gieseke writes about nonprofits, fundraising and people who give back in the Coachella Valley. Reach him at winston.gieseke@desertsun.com.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Classic Club donates meals to Coachella Valley Rescue Mission

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