‘Soup’s On’ kitchen in Huntington tackles coronavirus with weekly meals

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HUNTINGTON – One of the state’s biggest take-out food events during the coronavirus pandemic is taking place in one of Chittenden County’s quietest corners.

Book early for the free, weekly meal, warns Huntington Town Clerk Heidi Racht in her online newsletter — “because good soup can’t be conjured out of thin air.”

But the meal has a magic to it.

Dozens of volunteers prepare and serve up enough chow for 100 diners, every Wednesday. About 40 of the meals are delivered to the homes of folks who can’t make it to the pick-up at Brewster-Pierce Memorial School.

Farmers donate most of the produce; amateur and professional bakers conjure up bread and desserts; well-wishers regularly write checks to keep the operation going.

Edward Heyman’s Soup’s On began as a monthly affair almost exactly four years ago.

As its name suggests, the meal stems from the generosity of a man who recognized that some residents needed a little something extra in their lives.

Edward Heyman died suddenly, just two months after the soup kitchen began. His parents agreed that the meals should continue.

In April, aware that COVID-19 was crimping the lives of even more neighbors, the crew upped its game to free meals every week.

“He was a very giving person, and this is a tribute to him,” Sandy Heyman, his mother, said last week as she helped prepare what she described as “three enormous pots of fish chowder.”

The menu brimmed with donated grub, some of which would serve to fortify meals later in the week: homemade multi-grain crackers, local apples, fresh eggs, muffins and brownies.

“This is a very, very generous community,” Heyman said. “Everyone wants to help.”

Every meal prepared in her son’s name is heavy with emotion, she added, but the community’s involvement gives her strength.

“There’s a lot of kindness in the world,” Heyman said. “You need many hands and you need many hearts.”

The coronavirus pandemic, in addition to raising the need for group efforts like Soup’s On, seems to have sparked compassion among her neighbors, she added: “I feel people have slowed down a little bit — and that’s a good thing.”

To reserve a Soup’s On meal, dial Sandy Heyman — well before Wednesday — at (802) 434-7205.

Donations help support the project. Mail checks to Edward Heyman’s Soup’s On, 120 School Street, Huntington, Vermont 05462.

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or joelbaird@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.

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