When soup-making gatherings came to a halt, Soup Sisters adapted their recipe
According to Food Banks Canada, food banks have seen a 20% increase in demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And although food transportation remains an essential service, some charitable organizations have encountered challenges when it comes to the safe delivery of food to those in need. So when the non-profit organization Soup Sisters approached VersaCold for assistance in April, we jumped at the opportunity to help.
Soup Sisters is “a charitable social enterprise dedicated to providing comfort to women, children and youth through the making, sharing and donating of soup.” It was founded in 2009 by Sharon Hapton in Calgary, Alberta.
Normally Soup Sisters operates as a social activity, holding community soup-making events in 25 cities across Canada throughout the year. The soup made at each event is then donated locally to emergency shelters and food banks. But due to the pandemic and physical distancing measures, those events came to an abrupt stop in early March.
Hapton didn’t let that slow the operation for long. The organization was able to take swift action by switching to recipes previously developed for large kettle production with Kitchen Partners in Edmonton. They were able to produce 5,000 lbs of flash-frozen soup, but one problem remained: distribution.
An easy fit for VersaCold
When Hapton reached out to VersaCold to explore the possibility of transporting soup from Edmonton to 40 locations across Canada, we knew it was a natural fit. “It’s exactly what we do every day for our customers,” says Sandro Caccaro, Senior Vice President & General Manager, VersaCold Transportation Solutions.
VersaCold was able to pick up the shipment of soup from Edmonton and use its nationwide LTL network to distribute it across Canada in a safe and controlled manner within a matter of days. Refrigerated transportation was key to this operation and VersaCold was able to keep the 5,000 lbs of frozen soup at the required temperature for food safety throughout the entire journey.
The soup was successfully delivered to VersaCold’s nine terminal locations across Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, and beyond with the help of its partners. Volunteers from Soup Sisters’ local chapters picked up the soup from the terminal locations in smaller vehicles and hand-delivered it to individual food banks and shelters in their region.
Keep the soup flowing
COVID-19 has forced every organization to adapt. VersaCold has enacted measures throughout the entire organization such as work from home measures (where possible), physical distancing, hand washing, and providing masks for drivers. Plexiglass has been installed at locations where physical distancing isn’t possible, and at a time when many stores and businesses are closed down, we have made sure to provide washroom facilities for drivers who tirelessly provide an essential service.
VersaCold is proud to be able to help Soup Sisters adapt to the current needs of their operation. Sharon Hapton of Soup Sisters confirmed that with this recent shipment, Soup Sisters was able to deliver 5,000 lbs of soup to forty charitable agencies nationwide where it fed people in need including women and children fleeing family violence, youth in crisis, marginalized seniors, First Nations communities, and others who access food banks.
The program was so successful that the next shipment is already being planned with the potential to increase production. As Sharon says, the plan is to “keep the soup flowing”.
VersaCold Logistics Services is Canada’s largest company offering food-focused, temperatures-sensitive logistics services. If you have any questions or want to inquire about transportation or other logistics needs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-563-COLD.