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Positively Cincinnati: La Soupe turning would-be wasted food into meals for kids, families

And putting unemployed food industry back to work
Posted at 5:01 PM, Apr 29, 2020

CINCINNATI — One local restaurant is making sure food that would otherwise go to waste is being put to good use during the coronavirus pandemic while tapping a large population of out-of-work food and dining industry workers to help.

"Really, the mission at this point is to utilize (the) untapped resource of these chefs, now unemployed," said Suzy DeYoung, owner and founder of Anderson Township-based La Soupe. "Get 'em off unemployment. Come back to work under this model of cooking for those who are simply hungry."

Before COVID-19 hit the region, DeYoung and her team were already serving 6,500 meals a week for kids in need. Now they're serving 25,000 meals, for whole families.

Their output outgrew their Anderson facility. So now they're co-opting Taste of Belgium's space in East Walnut Hills to prep the meals.

"I love what Suzy has been doing with La Soupe," said Taste of Belgium owner Jean-Francois Flechet. "We can produce a lot of food, and people can do it safely because we can social distance."

The team has gotten to a Santa's Workshop-like level of efficiency, cranking out the gift of free meals in uncertain times.

"I think this is an answer, economically and spiritually," DeYoung said.

Eric Williams, also with Taste of Belgium, agreed: "It fills my heart. There are so many people underprivileged. The fact we can contribute to that, it's huge."