National Soup Month: Help Women Thrive
Sometimes, only soup will do. The cold weather makes us chilly down to our bones. The sky is dreary. Even a virtual hug would be nice! The winter doldrums can be cured with a sip of hearty, steaming soup.
It’s National Soup Month — a perfect time to focus on the soup mixes that we sell at our stores. Why do we sell them? What we have learned about soup from our partners at Women’s Bean Project in Denver, Co., is that something so simple can be magical and transform lives. Although all of the fair trade products we sell are made by artisans who don’t live in the US, we make a few exceptions. Women’s Bean Project is about making long-lasting connections that give a hand up, not a hand out. Graduates of the program find their place in the world. Before the soup even makes it into your bowl, it has done so much good!
The nonprofit helps women overcome chronic unemployment, recidivism, welfare dependency, and many other challenges. The social enterprise model of making bean and lentil soup mixes, spice blends, baking mixes, and new popcorn to sell in stores all around the country gives Women’s Bean Project a sustainable way to achieve its mission. And if you live in the area you can volunteer or be a mentor!
Here’s how your soup is so much more than beans and broth: Meet Women’s Bean Project graduate, Andriea. She was out of work but trying to gain some marketable skills by taking math and language classes. But she needed a hand up, and applied at Women’s Bean Project. There, she learned planning and organizing, budgeting, and customer service. She appreciated skills we often take for granted, like sorting through the mail and answering the phone. She was given a second chance and now has a full time job in Denver. She will always be part of a supportive community.
Rebbie’s story is a little different. She was homeless and a victim of trauma. She learned about Women’s Bean Project and decided to apply. Her only work experience was with with labor intensive jobs and it was wearing on her body. WBP connected her to the Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation and she was able to be part of at community of women and enjoyed learning how to use a computer. With the ability to focus on her bright future, she is able to process what happened to her in the past, control her emotions, and have a healthier lookout on life.
Our team at Momentum in Boulder will be making a meal of Women’s Bean Project soup and cornbread for the folks at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at the end of January. The soup that once touched many lives will touch even more. From the hands who serve it to sustaining the people that it feeds. We will also be hosting a donation drive at Momentum for items most needed by the shelter this month. See the list here and drop it off to us! Thank you for your generosity.