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Organic Soup Kitchen ladle stays idle for homeless this Thanksgiving holiday

A popular Thanksgiving feast for Santa Barbara’s homeless community, among others, will not happen this year.

Anthony Carroccio, Executive Director of the Organic Soup Kitchen, has confirmed that the doors to the Veteran’s Memorial Building on Cabrillo Boulevard will remain closed this Thanksgiving holiday.

“It was a very difficult decision,” said Carroccio.

Carroccio said after mulling over a major dilemma, he and his advisory board have decided that the needs of another segment of our community — cancer patients — outweigh the challenges of the mega-feast.

“Four years ago we started making high-density soup for cancer patients,” Carroccio said. “The need has increased so much.”

The non-profit is partnered with a dozen health-related agencies and groups in town, including the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, Hospice of Santa Barbara Inc., and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Carroccio said he and his staff and volunteers have spent the past week assembling vegan meals for 200 cancer patients that the Organic Soup Kitchen serves on a weekly basis, many of whom are served at home.

“It’s a lot of work,” Carroccio said.

Tacking on a Thanksgiving feast for an estimated 800 homeless people in one day is too much for this year, both physically and financially.

“It’s not like a restaurant where you bring in a lot of money,” he said.

When asked if this year would be an exception for the popular homeless feast, where nearly 100 turkeys are consumed, Carroccio asked, “Is cancer going away?”

Carroccio suggested that unless people (in the community) want to step up to help, it is very likely that the Organic Soup Kitchen will no longer serve holiday feasts.

For more information on the Organic Soup Kitchen, or to make a donation, visit

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