Soup kitchens have been a regular source of free meals for the needy and are branching out across the nation. Backed mostly by volunteers and, occasionally, independent farmers, establishments are fighting world hunger a day at a time. To make its own donation and break a world record, Green Giant cooked up a 637-pound green bean casserole.
“We wanted to celebrate our inaugural year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by baking up some excitement while helping so many people in this incredible city,” Jordan Greenberg, Green Giant’s vice president, said in a statement.
The tasty dish, which comprised of 780 cans of green beans, fed a whopping 2,000 elderly New Yorkers. A handful of Stella 34 Trattoria chefs took the lead, accompanied by the Green Giant mascot himself. While the serving trumped the last record-setting casserole by 81 pounds, the event was all about giving back.
[Greenberg] added that the company “has been a staple in Thanksgiving feasts for more than 100 years.”
The amount of enthusiasm on social media proves that green bean casserole truly never gets old.
Around the world, free meals have been making it into the mouths of the hungry at an impressive scale. In New York public schools, lunches are free of charge. Soup kitchens, like La Soupe in Cincinnati, are growing in abundance across the nation. This modest Anatolian town is home to Merkez restaurant, which offers free meals to the poor.
On any given day, [owner Mehmet] Ozturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town, which is home to around 28,000 people.
Merkez owners have been serving free meals for a healthy 70 years. Menu items include rice, chicken, soup, and, of course, kebabs. On Islamic holidays, Merkez provides feasts at no cost to the entire town of Karakocan.
“No matter who you ask in Elazig, they will tell you about Karakocan’s generosity,” [says Hasan Gulbasan, restaurant manager in Karakocan.]
Karakocan has aided causes for Syria’s Aleppo as well as victims of the Van earthquake in 2011. Many claim to engage in philanthropic activities for the sake of barakah (blessings), but are also just inherently giving. If there is one thing this little Turkish community can preach, it’s that generosity never gets old.