Chesterton Tribune



Red Cup offers free soup amid virus uncertainty

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Owner Laura Verheaghe has turned Red Cup Cafe, 115 Broadway, into a soup kitchen for the duration of the Governor’s stay-at-home order, she told the Chesterton Tribune yesterday.

“I always joked that I wanted to do this for free,” Verheaghe said. “I’m working on my first big order and hoping to partner with the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry.”

Verheaghe likely took the Tribune’s call one-handed, as she stirred a big, hot pot of tomato bisque. She’s been taking phone orders from individuals since Tuesday and was just finishing up her first large order, 60 quarts of soup for St. John’s United in Chesterton, Thursday night.

Verheaghe estimates the retail value of the order she’s making for the Presbyterian church at approximately $900.

The effort is self-funded and supplemented by whatever contributions come Red Cup’s way. Members of the public can contribute via PayPal or call Red Cup at (219) 929-1804 to make card donations.

Verheaghe reported she received a large donation of produce from The Goblin & The Grocer restaurant in Beverly Shores, which has decided to close for the duration of the stay-at-home order according to its Facebook page. Verheaghe also expressed her immense gratitude to Tom and Roberta Dakich, who started her off with $1,000, and thanked everyone who has thrown in a range of smaller donations.

Free soup is available to all in need, no questions asked, until Verheaghe runs out for a given day. Those who want to make an individual or family order can call Red Cup to arrange a contactless pickup at the Cafe between noon and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Selections will change daily but could include great northern bean and ham, tomato bisque, garden vegetable and pasta, mushroom and barley, and veggie lentil.

Verheaghe said she plans to offer this service for the duration of the stay-at-home order, if possible. “We’re all scared, we’re all hurting, and I just want to do something for our community for as long as I can,” she said.

Red Cup has closed its for-profit enterprise during the stay-at-home order, but patrons can still show support by contributing monetary donations to the free soup effort or following Red Cup on Facebook and leaving positive reviews.


Posted 4/3/2020




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