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Penn State Hillel’s ‘Chicken Soup Hotline’ Delivering Homemade Soup To Sick Students

There’s no doubt that the Penn State plague is going around, and some students are sicker than ever. In fact, downtown State College experienced a shortage of cold and flu supplies last month.

So, who can you call when mom isn’t around to take care of you and you’re stuck in your dorm room?

Penn State Hillel offers a “Chicken Soup Hotline” that delivers hot matzo ball soup to sick students free of charge.

Normally, students can choose between chicken or vegetarian matzo ball soup. However, only vegetarian matzo ball soup is currently available due to high demand. The soup is filled with fresh veggies and herbs that are a part of a homemade recipe.

In addition to the homemade soup, orders come with kosher cough drops and tissues.

“The Chicken Soup Hotline gives sick students a taste of home when they’re not feeling well, and it provides parents, family members, or friends a way to connect with and support their students from far away,” Aaron Kaufman, executive director of Penn State Hillel, said.

All you need to do is fill out an online form with a student’s name, dorm room or apartment, and a few other tidbits, including their level of sickness. Soup orders must be submitted before 3 p.m. on the day of the intended delivery.

Student volunteers deliver soup between 5 and 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Soups are not delivered during Jewish, secular, university holidays, or winter, spring, and summer break. Orders that are placed on the weekend are delivered the following Monday.

Last month, nearly 50 students received soup deliveries. Demand changes throughout the semester and tends to peak during flu season.

The Chicken Soup Hotline is a student-led initiative that is led by a student coordinator, known as the ~SOUPervisor.~ They manage a team of interns who make and deliver the soup and follow up with the students to make sure the soup was delivered correctly.

The interns prepare the soup in the Kosher kitchen in the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

“The Chicken Soup Hotline is a way for us to fulfill the Jewish value of ‘bikur cholim‘, or visiting the sick, and we don’t believe that sick students or those who cannot physically take care of them should have to pay for this,” Kaufman said. “The hotline is funded by generous gifts of parents and alumni, including many who order soup for their students, though that’s not required.”

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a senior biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected] For the hijinks, always.

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