Sales of borscht soup to benefit Ukraine | News, Sports, Jobs
In an effort to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine, Lakemont Park Casino is partnering with several churches of the Ukrainian Catholic St. Josaphat Eparchy to sell liters of beef borscht soup.
The soup costs $10 a liter, and 90 to 95 cents of every dollar raised goes to charity, according to Doug Simon, executive chef and owner of the Casino.
By partnering with St. Josaphat Churches, the Casino was able to connect with Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service organizations. According to Father James Davidson of the Ukrainian Church of St. Mary the Annunciation Mother of God in Ramey, Caritas Internationalis has two sites in Ukraine: one in the center which helps with the supply chain and one near the border with Poland. .
With the money donated, Caritas Internationalis will continue its operations of providing refugees with blankets, hygiene kits, food, shelter and transportation, Simon said.
“Everyone is wondering where to send money to make sure it gets to the right people,” Davidson said, hoping the soup sale will encourage people to donate.
Davidson and Simon hope to sell between 500 and 600 liters of soup, of which 300 liters are already in the Casino’s walk-in freezer.
“I thought my kitchen had the capacity and I had the time and I felt I had to use my talents to help,” Simon opened up about his decision to contact Davidson with his soup sale idea.
While borscht is usually a cold soup made with beets, Simon chose to make hot beef borscht to appeal to a wider range of people.
“There’s the beef flavor of the broth, then you sweeten it with a bit of beet – but that’s not a main ingredient,” said Simon. “The main ingredients are cabbage, beef and carrots, onions and celery.”
There are small bits of beets in the borscht, but their flavor is not very noticeable compared to the flavor of beef. The only reason he chose to make borscht is because it’s a traditional Ukrainian dish, Simon said, adding that it was his first time making it.
Wanting to ensure that each liter had an equal ratio of broth to “entrails,” Simon made the two components separately. Then, with the help of his staff who donated their time, he portioned the soup into quart containers.
“I have a measure of broth, I have a measure of tripe, put them all together, cover them, freeze them and then they are good to go”, Simon said, adding that people can make soup heartier at home by adding cooked potatoes.
The cost to make the soup would have been nearly $2 a liter if the Casino vendors hadn’t donated the liter containers, meat and produce – bringing the price down to just 50 cents a liter for herbs, spices and beef base, Simon mentioned.
“My current cost is less than $200”, he said. “Everyone is looking for a way to help these days, no matter how hard it is.”
If someone isn’t interested in the soup itself but still wants to help, they can donate money, Simon said. For every $10 donated, one liter of soup will be donated to Paul’s Food for Families St. Vincent Soup Kitchen for distribution to its customers.
All soup orders must be placed by Monday, March 21. To place an order, you can call St. Mary’s at 814-378-7688 or 814-592-8321 or The Casino at 814-944-6775. The soup will be ready for pickup at the Casino on Friday, March 25 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For non-local orders, churches will notify for pickup.
“The funds that are coming in are amazing and people are calling worried, so yes the cash donations are helpful, but what we need is prayer,” Davidson said. “We need a combination, so that those who cannot give can pray.”