Organic Soup Kitchen: Kicking Cancer’s Ass One Bowl of Soup at a Time

Picture a place where the tools to fight cancer include knives, whisks, stand mixers and blenders as well as bright orange carrots, knobby roots of turmeric and earthy green leaves of kale. Picture a place where containers full of nutrient-dense, plant-based goodness are loaded onto vans and delivered right to cancer patients’ doors each week. Now picture a place that offers this service on a sliding scale, at low to no cost for those who need it most.

Does it sound amazing? Absolutely. Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Earlier in the year we were introduced to Organic Soup Kitchen, a kick-ass organization located right here in Santa Barbara, CA (Packed Kits’ homebase). We love their mission and we think they are pretty awesome, so we’re super excited to introduce you to their work.

Organic Soup Kitchen began in 2009 during the worst recession of our time. In the 10 years since, they have grown from an organization that served 5,000 meals to Santa Barbara’s low-income community in 2009 to one that served over 100,000 meals in 2017, and have extended their services to reach cancer patients throughout Santa Barbara County. Their mission is to serve “high-quality, immune-fortifying foods to those in our community who have the greatest health and financial challenges” - they believe that a strong immune system is the foundation on which healing in many forms begins.

Their delicious soup deliveries are key for many people fighting cancer and enduring the side effects of chemo and other treatments. Soups are pureed for easy digestion and for those who have trouble swallowing. They are organic, non-GMO and vegan. Each ingredient is hand-picked not only for its flavor but also its nutrient-rich properties. And over 90% of their cancer clients are low-income community members who are unable to afford their soups yet still receive them - hand-delivered to their door - on a weekly basis.

How is this possible? Through the awesome support of these individuals by their community. Over 1000 volunteers rotate through the organization’s kitchens each year, preparing and delivering meals as well as sitting with meal recipients, sharing space and time with them. Organic Soup Kitchen is able to provide their services on a sliding scale for low-income cancer patients because of the generous donations of many, and they are currently seeking sponsorship for their cancer patients with monthly donations. Donations can be dedicated in honor and in memory of loved ones, making them a thoughtful way to honor someone whose life has been impacted by cancer.

In addition to supporting cancer patients, Organic Soup Kitchens serves seniors, veterans and the at-risk community, and provided emergency food aid for victims of the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides. Their impact on the Santa Barbara community is set to grow exponentially as they kick off their capital campaign for a new headquarters coming in 2019. This new facility, equipped with commercial-grade production equipment and full disaster relief functionality, will allow them to expand their delivery services and increase production to meet growing demand.

Does this sound like something you or a loved one could use? Please let Organic Soup Kitchen know - they are staffed by super people who are happy to help you apply for soup. Does this sound like something you’d like to support? Now’s the perfect moment to contribute your time and money as they prepare to grow in the coming year, so get in touch! Organic Soup Kitchen would also love to see you at their 1st annual 5k Walk Strong on Saturday August 11 at Leadbetter Beach - a baby-friendly, kid-friendly event with food, drinks, and beer served after your walk/run.

There are so many creative, essential ways to join the fight against cancer. We’re so glad that Organic Soup Kitchen exists to do their part, kicking cancer’s ass one bowl of soup at a time.

Andrea Slaby, COO & Anthony Carroccio, Executive Director