Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Carroccio.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Andrea. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My boyfriend at the time (now husband) and I went on a road trip to Ketchum Idaho to visit some friends. We were both at crossroads in our careers-him finishing up in the Spa Industry and me out of the Photography Industry, when we decided we wanted to do something that was meaningful and giving back to the community. The idea sparked while we were camping in the backcountry with our friends and grew as we ventured back home.
It all started with one conventional pot of soup in a park in Santa Barbara, California in 2009 and it grew from there. We started serving the at-risk populations every Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. Then we had an idea to do a Thanksgiving day meal with all the fixings, and Christmas day as well. For the last ten years, we’ve served 1,000 people on each of those holidays a full-on meal. Michael Mcdonald and Kenny Loggins would play on stage at our meals as entertainment, and Santa Claus would pass out gifts to everyone.
Then we got the call in 2014 to serve cancer patients from a local hospital, and that is what our main current program is The Cancer Recovery Program. This program has now grown to serving 200 + cancer patients, those with degenerative diseases and low-income seniors each week. We work with local organic farmers to get the best most nutrient dense produce available for our soups–which are vegan, organic and gluten-free.
Has it been a smooth road?
I can definitely without a doubt say it has not been the smoothest road, but I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the world. It has been the most amazing time of my life and continues to make me a better human being each and every day. Some of my challenges along the way were starting a non-profit from scratch without any knowledge of the non- profit world. I was so green in this industry, that I read up on everything to do with Non-profits and how to make a lasting impact. My heart was in the right place, I just needed some guidance. That guidance came in many shapes, and help came from some amazing individuals who really believed in our mission. I’m extremely grateful for each and every challenge along the way for it only made me stronger and makes me appreciate this beautiful life.
Please tell us about Organic Soup Kitchen Santa Barbara.
The nonprofit I run with my Family: Husband, step-son and amazing team of volunteers. It is a nonprofit 501(c)3 meaning we give back to the community and the community supports our endeavors. Organic Soup Kitchen provides optimal nutrition and food security to low-income individuals dealing with the effects of cancer. Our vision is to build scalable resources that are accessible to communities everywhere.
We are ten years strong as a non-profit and specialize in vegan, organic, gluten-free soups for cancer patients and those that just want a healthy dose of nutrients. We are known for our soups–especially our Coconut Curry Lentil. We prepare large vats of vegan, organic gluten-free and nutrient dense soups each week, and deliver them to our client’s homes directly. We have a team of 20 volunteer delivery drivers who are our eyes and ears for our client’s needs if they need something other than soup–we connect them with the proper resources–such as Hospice or Doctors etc. etc. Sometimes our drivers are the only folks our clients see each week, so it’s a great joy for our clients to see a friendly face, check in and have delicious soups for the week. What I am most proud of are our volunteers and how they help shape Organic Soup Kitchen and make this community a better place to be. I am also proud of the recognition we received last year from Santa Barbara Hospice The “Local Heroes” Award.
What sets us apart from other organizations is that we deliver vegan, organic, gluten-free soup meals to low-income clients suffering from degenerative diseases and cancer. Our soups are pureed for ease of digestion and for those suffering dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). We focus on nutrition and building our clients immune systems–focusing on the core issue–”Food as Medicine.”
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
As people are living longer, they need healthier resources available to them, and Organic Soup Kitchen is there for them. We have the baby boomers, the largest generation right now aging and with this, they need access to healthy organic foods, meals, and nutrition. I foresee our industry growing tremendously into the next generations to come. The largest shift we’ve seen in the natural product industry is grab and go with low price points which means more starch, carbs, and more GMO’s. This means individuals are not receiving the proper nutrition they need as they get older, and on fixed incomes–they have to choose between paying for rent, medications, and food–food is the last one they don’t pay attention to because a lot of low-income folks can’t afford organic healthy foods. That is where Organic Soup Kitchen helps them out.
- Website: www.OrganicSoupKitchen.org
- Phone: 805-284-3552
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/organicsoupkitchen/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/organicsoupkitchen/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/OrganicSoups
- Other: https://www.gofundme.com/manage/oskheadquarters
Photo credits on a few of the pics are Kimberly Quinn, David Donaldson, and Anthony Carroccio