Last Friday my two kiddos and I served chicken noodle soup, salad, and brioche to some seniors in downtown Seattle. The Souper Supper (I came up with that clever name) was started somewhat begrudgingly on my part. My supervisor at the time wanted it to happen once a week and be led by volunteers. My practical (read pessimistic) self knew that sounded well and good, but would probably take me an additional 5 hours a week to coordinate even with perfect volunteers, and I knew it would take a while to find those magical people that would want to give their time consistently every week without my hawk-eye supervision. So, I suggested we have the Souper Supper once a month. Luckily I have an amazing employee that has supported me the entire way. To date we have served soup every month for over a year now, approximately 180 served. I do have some regular volunteers, though they still need me there to coordinate it all. I have grown to love this event. For one, the soup is great. It's donated by Campbell's Stock-Pot, and the bread is donated by Panera. What's not to love? Something to note though is that most Food Banks/Pantries have plenty of bread. Not that we'll stop taking it, but bread is usually unlimited for individuals and families served by our local Food Banks. Whereas fresh produce is very difficult to come by.
Saturday morning we spent at the Red Barn Community Farm. This farm is located in the flood plains next to the Snohomish River in Everett. My employer was gifted use of the land by the City of Everett several years ago. Anyone can buy a plot, just like a pea-patch. In fact, the first year some family friends of ours went in on a 40x20 plot with us. It is hard to grow food! There was no irrigation the first year so we had to haul in our water in 5 gallon camping jugs. We grew wild mustard very well (weed), and only a handful of carrots and beets, and one lonely green pumpkin. Last year the Red Barn Community Farm donated over 5,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Everett Food Bank. Right now we're planting red russian kale, broccoli, cabbage, and potatoes. I'm so excited to see what these wonderful volunteers contribute this year. Also, I should mention that all Food Bank clients can have a plot for free and learn to grow their own food. Cool!
I finished Saturday with a birthday party for a 10 year-old girl, but this wasn't just any birthday party. This young girl wanted to give back to her community in lieu of a traditional party and gifts. With the help of 13 of her best friends she sorted over 1,000 pounds of donated food, and instead of gifts, you can see in the picture to the left that they donated food and gifts for families in need. Now this isn't to say that there wasn't celebrating. There was ice cream cake and loud music. At one point, there were 6 girls standing on the benches of the Greenwood Food Bank belting out "Let it Go." As the ladies left at the end of the event I asked if they enjoyed themselves, and they all reported that it was a great party, but what stuck me the most is that they all really felt that helping was a lot of fun. Beautiful.
I'm a not-for-profit worker that loves food, both healthy and indulgent. I've eaten the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe: toast, hash browns, and all. Take that Adam Richman!