PSU students get national attention after stepping in to help sick students

    Students with the Penn State Hillel expanding a soup line on campus. (WJAC)

    UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State students are getting some national attention for helping sick students with a special treat.

    Students with the Penn State Hillel expanding a soup line on campus after at least four years of business.

    The kosher kitchen on campus is where it all happens. Students spend eight hours chopping veggies to soothe sick students.

    "We realized there was a need especially in the cold weather for warm goodness," soup hotline supervisor Matt Altman said.

    It's not grandma's usual soup, but the Hillel filling the void on campus.

    "Any student regardless of religion or whatever is able to order our soup," Altman said.

    Students prepare soup every month at the kosher kitchen and it's then frozen until an order is placed.

    The soup gets reheated and delivered to students on campus or in the downtown area, free of charge.

    "Mostly the parents order the soup and I think it's just great,” student supervisor Noah Bender said. “It’s a precious experience."

    Anyone can place an order online for a student in need, at

    As a hospitality management major, Bender says the program has helped him get some valuable experience.

    "I thought these two passions put together would be the greatest thing, and it's been a lot of fun ever since," Bender said.

    Since then donations from across the country have been pouring in.

    In the end, it's all about what they can do to help the students out.

    "You can feel the energy from not just their eyes or their face,” Altman said. “You can feel it from their hearts about how grateful they are that you are here for them."

    The students say they hope to continue this business.

    "With all the work that we're doing, we can possibly make this into a larger part of the organization," Bender said.

    They accept donations but officials tell me the whole idea, especially in Judaism, is to provide resources -- even if it's a hot bowl of soup. Business is expected to pick back up for flu season.

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