These people would risk their lives to save mine and not even know my name. They are the true heroes in my eyes
Ginger grew up in Oregon but often spent time on the east coast as a youngster, which is where she learned to cook. And many thousands of volunteers are lucky she did. She owns Mama Passarelli's restaurant, which not only serves the public at large but is also the number one source of food for emergency volunteers in the greater Seattle area when disaster strikes. Ginger is quick to say she is married to the nicest person she knows, her husband Harvey, who is a building engineer. Harvey will join Ginger on the cruise.
About ten years ago when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Ginger volunteered through her church to assist in disaster relief efforts in Mississippi. She didn't know at the time of that the event that everything would change in her life as a result. When Ginger got to Mississippi, she soon realized that emergency workers were toiling countless hours under enormous strain every day, and there was no system in place to feed them. They lived off of MREs and whatever rations they could stuff in their pockets, and they worked day and night. Ginger knew there had to be a better way.
Ginger and her team, later to be known as "The Soup Ladies," began feeding first responders and did what they could during Katrina. When she got back to Seattle, Ginger contacted the fire chief, police chief, and other first responders to see how she could set up a system to feed people on search and rescue calls and during times of local disaster. Over time, the Soup Ladies, which is now a team of about 40 volunteers, would cook hot meals at Mama Passarelli's and bring them to wherever the first responders were located. Sometimes this was to support a team in search of a lost mountain climber, other times to support fire fighters battling a major conflagration, and still other times during major crime scene investigations. Whenever the call comes, Ginger and her team mobilize and bring hot, tasty food to the responders. And now, the operation has expanded to included disasters like the devastating tornadoes that hit Oklahoma earlier this year. During that disaster, Ginger's team quickly set up shop and provided over 13,000 free meals to emergency responders in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Says Ginger: "I work with a wonderful team of volunteers, and I feel privileged to support these first responders who put their lives, time, and energy on the line to help others when they need it most."