In January staff at Covington Taco Time sold more than $2,000 worth of coupon books with the proceeds going to benefit the Soup Ladies.
As the Covington store plans for the next coupon book sale that starts Jan. 1, Dave Riffle, general manager, said it made sense to sell the books with the proceeds again going to the Soup Ladies.
“The Soup Ladies is just such a worthy organization to support and they do so many good things in the community and many other communities,” Riffle said. “We feel like it’s a great fit. Last year we sold, I believe $2,150 worth of coupon books, so this year, I would like to set a goal of let’s say $3,500.”
Riffle explained Taco Time locations in Washington state have sold coupon books to raise money for charities in the communities they serve for a number of years. For the drive in 2013, one of the assistant managers suggested donating the proceeds to the Soup Ladies. Riffle thought it was a great idea. Each coupon book sells for $1. All of the proceeds of the sales goes to the charity selected by the store.
The coupon books are sold throughout the month of January. Customers get $5 worth of coupons for $1, which brings them back to the restaurant, Riffle said, while the Soup Ladies received a donation which can be used to continue their mission.
Founded by Ginger ‘Mama’ Passarelli, a Black Diamond resident, the Soup Ladies have fed first responders at all manner of emergencies for more than seven years. Volunteers from the nonprofit traveled to help Hurricane Katrina victims, to southwestern Washington after flooding, and to Southern California to feed firefighters during wildfires there as well as New York City after Super Storm Sandy pounded the Eastern seaboard.
Riffle said he spoke to Passarelli on the phone in recent weeks — her plate was full with a recent response to the death of a law enforcement officer in Oregon as well as an appearance in September on the Queen Latifah Show — to let her know the Soup Ladies were chosen as the beneficiary of the 2014 coupon book sales at the Covington location.
He also wanted to make sure she knew he hoped to bring in even more money for the Soup Ladies this year.
“What we found last year is that as people would come in, they would see the charity that we were supporting and they would connect with it instantly,” Riffle said. “I think if more people are aware of it this year … hopefully we would get even more support. I think the community seems to resonate more with the Soup Ladies … ultimately this about a fundraiser and getting to the funds to that charity so it’s a worthy cause.”
Riffle added that when he spoke to Passarelli she was excited about the support. For the Soup Ladies, it means there is that much more money in the bank when it is time to roll out. Typically the volunteers from the group drop everything to feed first responders at a scene and last-minute travel can be pricy.
Knowing what the Soup Ladies do and the help they provided over the years, Riffle said, makes it easier for staff to sell the coupon books.
“Last year it was interesting to watch people respond,” Riffle said. “We verbally offer the coupon books pretty much to every guest that comes in and share the charity just to try and solicit additional support for them.”
Once customers learned proceeds from sales of the coupon books went to support the Soup Ladies, Riffle said, they would often become totally receptive when at first they were not interested.
“We just want people to be aware what we’re fundraising for and who we’re fundraising for,” Riffle said. “One of the coupons is $1 off any item, so, it pays for itself.”