Students, faculty & staff volunteers made soup to help feed others

On February 15, 2024, a group of 25 Cincinnati State students and employees gathered in one of the Midwest Culinary Institute’s kitchens, and spent several hours chopping vegetables, cooking chicken, and boiling broth.

The result of their work was 40 gallons of three different kinds of soup (around 600 individual servings) prepared for delivery to La Soupe and then distribution to area residents who are experiencing food insecurity.

Logo for La Soupe

La Soupe is a non-profit organization that rescues excess, perishable food from local restaurants and grocery stores, transforms it into delicious and nutritious meals, and shares the meals with those in need.

The service project was planned by Lee Ransdell (a Cincinnati State Culinary graduate and La Soupe volunteer), along with Nora Beckmann (Math instructor), Chef Greg Skibinski (Culinary Arts Program Chair), and Jay Zwerin (Central Operations Manager for the Midwest Culinary Institute).

Students from the Women’s Empowerment Network joined the project along with other volunteers.

Beckmann said the project was inspired by the “Cooking for a Cause” class taught by Cincinnati State adjunct instructor Alex Noel at the Baker Hunt Art & Educational Center in Covington, KY.

“Lee Ransdell and I took Alex’s class, where we learned to prepare soup that was donated to an emergency shelter in Northern Kentucky. We wanted to bring a similar project to Cincinnati State, and Lee was the perfect head chef to help plan and lead the event,” Nora said.

Student and faculty participants enjoyed and learned from the service project.

Student Surpreet Kaur Lote said, “I loved the event overall. The lunch was amazing, and I interacted with new people, which was my favorite part. I also cut three different types of onions!”

Faculty member Larry Feist (Engineering & Information Technologies), said, “For me the experience was about community– students and employees literally worked together within the College community, for a wonderful cause in our Cincinnati community.”

Caleb Ochs-Naderer, a Business Division faculty member, added “This was a fantastic way to volunteer our time, and a great opportunity to get to know faculty, staff, and students from outside of my usual circles. I can think of very few better ways to spend a couple hours of my workday.”

Student Jack Nobu observed, “The event was awesome and fun! I learned how to cut and dice onions from Chef Lee and felt good knowing I could contribute something for those facing food insecurity.”

Faculty member Anne Dean (Health & Public Safety) said the event was “a heartwarming experience that I will cherish. I will remember seeing so many from different walks of life coming together to elevate the lives of others.”

(Photos by Brittany King)