Local restaurants and foundation team up to provide soup to foster families and “aging out” youth
Editor’s Note: Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.
Danielle’s husband died the day before Thanksgiving, and she hadn’t been hungry since. She ate, of course, but not much. A foster mom caring for two children, she needed to survive, but grief had dulled her appetite. That is, until Christmas, when she received a savory bowl of soup made fresh for her and her kids by a local restaurant and donated by a local philanthropic organization. Maybe it was the meal itself, or the love that went into it, but she said it was the first meal she enjoyed since her husband passed away.
Over the holidays, The Petritz Foundation and Colorado Springs Food Rescue developed a unique plan to help both local restaurants struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic as well as community members suffering financially from the economic slowdown. Aptly named the “Soup for the Soul” campaign, the sponsoring foundation purchased soup from local restaurants and then distributed it to local nonprofits, including Fostering Hope, to ensure vulnerable populations had soup to eat for the holidays. The week before Christmas, our coordinators helped to deliver each foster family and emancipated young adult in our program three quarts of fresh homemade soup. Participating restaurants included Red Gravy, Pho-N-Thai, Edelweiss, Fujiyama and Switchback Hillside Cafe.
“An equitable food system is about more than just emergency food access. We are excited to partner with local restaurants, who have been hit hard by the COVID restrictions, to both support their bottom line as well as provide a gift to members of the community,” said Patience Kabwasa, Executive Director of Colorado Springs Food Rescue.
Just as important as the delicious soup was the message it sent to its recipients: there are people who care about me. That’s a powerful message, especially for counteracting the message that trauma sends: people are threats, not resources, and I’m not worthy of love or kindness.
For example, Everett, a young adult who recently aged out of foster care, had been bouncing from motel room to motel room. Although usually reluctant to reach out for help, he was out of food and options, so he contacted a Fostering Hope coordinator. Desperate and hungry, Everett was on the verge of tears. Our coordinator brought him groceries and three quarts of the homemade soup. He was so appreciative, particularly to have warm, specialty soup from a local restaurant to enjoy. But most importantly, the soup showed him that there are people in the community who care and will offer a helping hand in a time of need.
We are so grateful to live in a community that shows up for each other, exemplified by the Soup for the Soul campaign. Thank you to The Petritz Foundation, Colorado Springs Food Rescue and the local participating restaurants for spreading warmth and love over the holidays!