Within a one-mile radius of the West Side Market there are about a dozen soup kitchens that attempt to fill the nutritional needs of countless poor and homeless people.
Within that same geographical area are numerous restaurants, caterers and market vendors with excess product that don’t have the time, staff or knowhow to get the food into the right hands.
A new non-profit organization aims to provide that crucial link between that food and the people who need it most. Founded by chef, restaurateur and educator Giovanna Mingrone, Stone Soup CLE helps to feed Cleveland’s hungry while reducing waste and providing nutrition, support, dignity and a sense of community.
“We named our organization Stone Soup CLE after a folktale that reflects cooperation, especially in scarcity,” Mingrone explains. “If we can bring together those who want to help with those needing help, we can address our city’s ongoing hunger issues, including food insecurity. More people, especially children and the elderly, will have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food.”
Mingrone estimates that area soup kitchens at places like St. Malachi, St. Augustines and St. Paul's Community Outreach serve nearly 20,000 meals each month. Meanwhile local restaurants, caterers, market vendors, produce companies and grocery stores routinely throw away food because they don’t know what to do with it.