‘There can be a little bit of beauty in chaos, just a little bit’

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'There can be a little bit of beauty in chaos, just a little bit'


SEATTLE — Fires, crime scenes and natural disasters — whatever the tragedy, all can be made just a little more bearable with bowl of soup.

At least that’s the aim of a group of homegrown volunteers known affectionately as the Soup Ladies.

Soup lady Ginger “Mama” Passarelli might tell you the magic is in her red sauce, or a pot full of soon-to-be creamy mashed potatoes.But the truth is the magic is Mama herself.

“People ask me, ‘How do you know how to do all this?’ I don’t know!” she said, laughing.

Passarelli is the heart and soul of the Soup Ladies. Feeding others is her passion. So when a local fire department called, asking if she could bring some hot soup to firefighters who’d been on the job for hours, she never thought about saying no.

“Feeding all the first responders — it’s an honor and a privilege to get to do this. And their job is the worst,” she said.

Whether it’s investigators at the scene of Christmas-time murders, or investigating the shooting of four of their own, the Soup Ladies are there.

Some 30 volunteers strong, they can jump in their truck or load up their mobile kitchen and be on the road in an hour with hot food for 100.

“That’s the thanks — the smiles, the hugs. That’s all you need,” said Passarelli.

When Passarelli saw the devastation in Joplin, she knew the Soup Ladies had to go. The group’s motto: warming the world, one bowl at a time.

“There can be a little bit of beauty in chaos, just a little bit, a little bit of comfort,” Passarelli said.

Three Soup Ladies will leave for Joplin on Wednesday, and spend a week at the devastated region, cooking.