BLUE ASH, Ohio — Two days ago, the La Soupe team was working out of a small building on Round Bottom Road. They were running out of space for their radically changing mission.
Before COVID-19, La Soupe rescued and transformed perishable food donations for hungry kids so they'd have good, nutritious meals on weekends. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the mission has expanded from just kids to entire families.
Then, a restaurateur, who was forced to close his business after the COVID-19 panic, re-purposed his space, opening it to the nonprofit with a mission to feed others.
"It's huge," La Soupe founder Suzy DeYoung said. "It's a huge space – so we can social distance here."
They couldn't hit that mark without a bigger place to work – a problem that was solved after a call to action on Facebook and on TV last week.
Enter the Firehouse Grill near Summit Park in Blue Ash. It closed to customers on March 16, and while it remains shut down, they're donating the kitchens for La Soupe to use.
"We're hoping about 15 thousand servings a week," DeYoung said.
That means DeYoung and company can work safely with space between them.
"I gotta keep my employees and friends safe," DeYoung said.
More space means more product put out in this time of need. DeYoung calls The Firehouse Grill's owner "Angel Bob."
"It's not a light term," DeYoung said. "He's awesome – he gets it and gets it done."
Bob Davis even got the La Soupe team new refrigeration space. More space means more volunteers. And more volunteers means a greater ability to make food to give to those in need.
Now, DeYoung said, they're just looking for more donations.