BUCKLEY, Wash. -- With more than 4,000 first responders battling the Camp Fire, nearly 700 miles away in Buckley, Washington, the Soup Ladies and Stew Dude are loading their pink pickup and getting ready to leave for California.
"We feed first responders and we go to all sorts of incidents,” said Ginger Pasarelli with The Soup Ladies.
This time they’re heading to Chico, California where the Camp Fire started last Thursday. It has burned about 110,000 acres destroying more than 6,000 structures and threating another 15,000.
"We’ll probably get there Tuesday morning,” said Pasarelli.
Cooking is Pasarelli’s passion. "I owned a restaurant so I cook big, I cook fast,” she said.
The Soup Ladies, a non-profit, travel wherever disaster strikes.
"We went to New York after hurricane Sandy, we went to Joplin, Oklahoma, we were there for Hurricane Katrina and we’ve been to California a number of times for wildfires,” said Pasarelli. "Everybody has a gift, and I can feed people,” she added.
“Warming the world one bowl at a time,” is their slogan and Pasarelli says next month will mark two decades of her soup service.
"20 years, I’ve been making soup!” she said.
She says this is her way of giving back to those who put their lives on the line.
"They risk their lives for us, they don’t know our name,” she said.
The Soup Ladies do more than make soup, they also hand out necessities like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, snacks and water. But, most of all, Pasarelli says it’s letting those who serve and protect know how much they matter.
"We can’t feed everybody but we can feed as many as we can feed and take care of them and give them a hug and let them know they’re appreciated,” she said.
The group says they will arrive in Chico on Tuesday and may stay through Thanksgiving.