La Soupe making meals for families affected by COVID closures

Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 19, 2020

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions here.

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- It’s an unarguably difficult time for restaurant workers, whose bars and bistros have closed by the state to stop the spread of coronavirus, and for families of school-age children, whose classrooms have similarly shut their doors over coronavirus concerns.

La Soupe, a Cincinnati restaurant on Round Bottom Road, has a mission to transform perishable food to make sure hungry children get nutritious meals on weekends. Now, they’re expanding that mission to include thousands of Tri-State families.

“It has been crazy -- really really busy,” said La Soupe employee Katy Nardolillo. “Phone calls off the hook of people looking to donate or in need of food.

La Soupe is cooking up food from wholesalers, local farms, and - since last week - lots of restaurants that don’t have customers.

“We're doing what we can...everything in shifts,” she said. “We were here til 11 p.m. last night.”

Since they only have so much space to work and store food, they’re asking local organizations in a position to do so to mimic their mission.

La Soupe Founder Suzy DeYoung says restaurateur Jose Salazar is doing just that in his own industry, as he asked her, “you’re ok with this?”

“And I'm like ...are you kidding? If I could, I'd kiss you on the lips for this,” she said. “Somebody has to do it.”

Right now, La Soupe is building a new, bigger place, though it’s not ready yet. They’re actively looking for restaurant or industrial space where they can store and prepare food to be delivered. They’re also looking for school buses to get in on the delivery action to take it to food agencies daily.

The team’s main call to action: keep duplicating their model to save food, transform it and serve the growing number of people who need it.

“Being here in this position -- doing this to help people is super awesome,” DeYoung said.