Ginger Passarelli has been racing to disaster scenes in the Puget Sound region for years — but she's not a police officer or firefighter.
Ginger Passarelli has been racing to disaster scenes in the Puget Sound region for years — but she’s not a police officer or firefighter.
The Black Diamond woman’s motto is “Warming the world one bowl at a time,” and that’s just what she and her cadre of “Soup Ladies” do.
On Tuesday, the former restaurant owner, whose work has been highlighted in The Seattle Times, was featured on “Returning the Favor,” a Facebook series hosted by Mike Rowe (of “Dirty Jobs”) that focuses on people who make a positive contribution to their fellow human beings.
Passarelli’s Soup Ladies are called when there are groups of first responders working outside, whether at the site of a natural disaster, a search-and-rescue operation or a crime scene. Her well-stocked kitchen allows her to be out the door with cauldrons of hot, and calorie-packed, soup within an hour, she has said.
“We don’t want to waste time ’cause these guys are starving out there,” she explains to one of the show’s crew members.
On the show, which was streamed on Facebook on Tuesday, Rowe visits Passarelli and “tricks” her into going to the base camp for a group of first responders. Instead, she drives into a celebration, attended by scores of people who’ve benefited from her dedication over the years, including King County Sheriff John Urquhart, who arrived by helicopter.
“We can always count on you, and we appreciate it so much,” Urquhart tells Passarelli on the show.
Then, led by bagpipers, a vintage trailer that Rowe had retrofitted into a mobile soup kitchen is wheeled out of a fire-station bay. Passarelli squeals in excitement: “Oh my God!”
“It’s very humbling when you get to serve people that do so much for the community,” she says, wiping away tears. “I love them. They are my heroes.”