For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrea Slaby, Chief Operating Officer
Phone: (805) 284-3552
Soup is simple. It’s steamy comfort in your favorite bowl. Whether it’s warming a chilly day or soothing an aching body, soup is an easy classic. Creating a soup for cancer clients is not simple. As the team of staff, volunteers, and donors working behind the scenes at Santa Barbara’s Organic Soup Kitchen will tell you, making high-quality, environmentally-friendly nutrient dense soup takes dedication and technology. And kitchen technology takes funding.
As Organic Soup Kitchen prepares to move into its new headquarters, a generous donation from a Santa Barbara man has provided an essential equipment upgrade. Russell Steiner stepped forward to fill OSK’s need for one of two 60-gallon steam kettles. With a $20,000 price tag, the donation is no drop in the kettle.
Steam kettles are an improved, self-contained version of a large stockpot. These kettles offer a huge increase in productivity, convenience and energy efficiency and feature the ability to be partially automated and closely controlled. For Organic Soup Kitchen, Steiner’s kettle and it’s yet-to-be-acquired twin will streamline production allowing the kitchen to meet ever-increasing demand.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to allow the community to donate towards purchasing the second steam kettle as well as other essential equipment.
Now in its tenth year, Organic Soup Kitchen delivers organic, nutritionally-dense soups to patients undergoing cancer treatments, fighting degenerative diseases, and low-income seniors. Using organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products, and certified non-irradiated herbs, Organic Soup Kitchen soups are high in antioxidants and packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients. Soups are pureed for ease of digestion as more than a third of patients have difficulty swallowing as a side effect of treatments. While lauded as delicious, the soups are, most importantly, the perfect cancer-fighting meal.
Steiner thoroughly supports Organic Soup Kitchen’s mission. He says his donation is in memory of his mother, Bobbie, who passed away from lung cancer.
“One of my missions is to make sure people have access to healthy food,” he said.
“In some cases people don’t have that option, and if they can’t eat, how can they think, work, or heal. It’s a way for me to give back.”
Steiner has volunteered with OSK since its inception starting out in the kitchen chopping vegetables and cooking. He says he’s excited not only for the extra space the new kitchen provides, but also the opportunities.
“It’s going to allow them to operate more efficiently and serve more people,” he said.
Organic Soup Kitchen CEO Anthony Carroccio is proud of the support the kitchen has received.
“The Organic Soup Kitchen is owned by the community. It’s not owned by me or Drea [Andrea Slaby, COO]. We’re just the directors of this program. The organization is only as strong as the segment of the community that supports it,” he said.
“When you’re in need of our services, we’ll be there for you whether you’re a donor or not. But being a donor assures the community that we’re going to be there for everyone who needs us.”
Donor support for the twin steam kettles, as well as other equipment for the retrofitted headquarters including refrigeration and ovens, is allowing Organic Soup Kitchen to advance the other facet of their mission, environmentally-friendly production. OSK soups, largely crafted from excess produce of local organic farms, currently come hermetically sealed in plastic pints. Carroccio revealed the new kitchen has fully automatized sterilization capabilities allowing OSK to switch to glass containers. Glass, as opposed to plastic, is entirely recyclable.
“Here we are trying to do all the right things and here we are putting out plastic every week. We have to make a shift,” he said.
“Our (new) kitchen allows us to work with 100 percent integrity.”
That integrity also involves honoring supporters within the kitchen itself. To that end, Organic Soup Kitchen has commissioned local mosaic artist Elizabeth Gallery to design a wall recognizing donors that Menelli Tile & Design Company will help to install. Gallery is the artist behind the Seal of the City of Santa Barbara at the Sea Landing which won the 2014 Santa Barbara Beautiful Open Spaces Award.
Andrea Slaby, OSK’s COO, sees Gallery’s installation as an act of gratitude.
“It’s important to honor those that support us because they are the people who made it happen,” she said.
“They donated the time, the energy, the effort, and the funds to make this whole project possible. Their legacy will be memorialized in the kitchen, reminding everyone of the power of compassion and generosity.”
Carroccio is grateful for the support the community provides.
“The support has been fantastic,” he said. “We just have to increase it to meet the demand. The stronger OSK becomes, the stronger the community support becomes.”
Be responsible for community change by supporting Organic Soup Kitchen at Go Fund Me or on organicsoupkitchen.org