The RHBC Soup Kitchen (est MAY 2020)

COVID-19 hit us all hard and in the case of RHBC we could not trade in any form due to the government views on alcohol during the lockdown. Times were bleak. However, inspiration hit when we saw what the guys at The Brewers Soup Collective (Woodstock and Drifter Brewing Company, etc.) were doing in Cape Town. They had converted their boil kettle to be able to make soup on a large scale.

We were all sitting at home trying to ride out the storm, but that storm was raging much harder in the poorer communities and we just had to follow in the Cape Town breweries footsteps and start up the RHBC Soup Kitchen. This at least gave us an opportunity to put the brewery to work during the lockdown.

The operation all works on donations facilitated through our website. This goes towards buying vegetables in bulk to cut costs and allow us to make even more. We have a team of volunteers that come through to prep the veggies, cutting off skins and cubing them so that they will fit into a wood chipper. All the veggies get mulched up and tossed into our 1000L boil kettle where we add various spices etc for flavouring. After 20 min the soup is ready and gets pumped out, still hot, into drums and flow bins for soup kitchens to collect. Since it gets distributed in large volumes it retains its heat and therefore it doesn’t need to be reheated. They then get it to the various communities in PE who are desperately in need. With the assistance of Love Story, we are sending soup to 12 soup kitchens within: Joe Slovo, Kwadwesi, Bethelsdorp, Motherwell, and Walmer. The whole scale of the operation allows for an extremely cost-effective process, saving on veggies, electricity, and time allowing us to feed even more hungry tummies.

We were initially producing a double batch (1900L) every Sunday which worked out to about 4500 servings at about R1 a serving, but due to financial constraints, we have sadly had to downscale to producing just a single batch (roughly 850 liters). This enables us to still operate on a weekly basis by stretching our limited resources, even if we, unfortunately, feed fewer people in need.

We have also secured a fantastic weekly donation of 50 loaves of bread from Blue Ribbon Bakeries, which has been a massive help in terms of adding nutrition and bulk to our meal plan.

Our goal is to continue this indefinitely; even after lockdown, as there are always going to be communities in need that can benefit from our operation.  The RHBC Soup Kitchen strives to be not only a charitable resource in the face of a pandemic but a necessity in our community. However, to continue the Good Work, we are in desperate need of funds. We urge anyone who can contribute to our fund to visit our website at https://richmondhillbrewing.com/product/soup-donation/  to make a donation, or even volunteer their time on a Sunday morning. Our volunteers have hearts of gold, and we couldn’t do it without their positive and upbeat attitude towards making sure we achieve our goal.

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