OSO, WA-- As the search for the missing winds down in Oso, hope and gratitude is springing up.
The famous chef James Beard once said, "Food is our common ground, a universal experience." Ginger Passarelli knows a little something about that.
"We're all just volunteers. Some people go out into the woods and rescue people, I cook," Passarelli said while holding a paper plate full of pot luck items.
On March 22nd, Ginger and her team went into action.
"When our 'Soup Ladies' are called, we can usually be out within one hour with food for a 100 or more people," she said.
For 16 days "The Soup Ladies" fed every hungry first responder with a meal and love. More than 6,5000 meals in all.
"They're strong, these people are strong. These guys are my heros," she added.
She nourished their souls and on Saturday night, this community nourished their heart with a potluck dinner.
"Tonight we want to offer people hope, a time to come together and a sense that we're moving forward together. No one's alone," said Rev. Gary Ray of the Oso Community Chapel.
Under a tent at the Oso Community Chapel, they stood in gratitude for the countless men and women who spent a month converged on a rain-soaked hillside, digging through debris some 70 feet deep. Volunteers who have recovered 41 victims and vow to find the two still missing.
"You've been going so hard so fast for so long." said event organizer Cherene Graber, "It's that hard transition of finding normalcy again."
The work seems never ending but like the food, this tragedy is their common ground, a shared experience hat can continue to make them Oso strong.