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The Real Soup-er Heroes

January 18, 2019

By Alexandra Barton

DOC Communications

(Alexandra Barton, DOC Communications)

The Department of Corrections Emergency Operations Unit receives requests to assist during natural and man-made disasters. This can be a wide variety of tasks including tracking resources, developing evacuation plans for effected communities, or responding to calls for help. The requests are made through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request, a mutual aid agreement amongst state agencies.

There are a vast scope of professionals that serve on the team. The team members have a few things in common; their dedication to the long hours worked and their hunger for hot, delicious meals. The Soup Ladies work with the department during disaster relief efforts to help feed first responders while they are in the field.

Almost 4 years ago, Ginger Passarelli was asked by the department to have The Soup Ladies serve food during a ceremony to honor fallen correctional officers killed in the line of duty. Passarelli says she was impacted by how the department acknowledges those that serve their community.

Passarelli founded The Soup Ladies after she spent time in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. They serve food for many different missions, typically aiding emergency first responders during disaster relief. Currently, they go on approximately 60 missions each year, all over the country.

“We’re so honored that we get to serve you,” Passarelli said.

Paula Andrew, a human resource consultant for the department, found a way to combine both her love of helping people and food. The Soup Ladies gave her the opportunity to cook warm meals while still serving the community.

“The dropping off of some hot food can make a difference to an emergency responder or it could be spending the day with someone that needs some warm hugs and a good bowl of soup,” Andrew said.