Souper Supper: A ladle of love for the homeless

The Federal Way Community Caregiving Network is asking residents to help the needy by spending an evening socializing and eating soup.

The network is preparing for its annual Souper Supper fundraiser. Funds collected at the dinner, which features a variety of soups as the main course, go toward assisting the network in serving weekly dinners for the homeless and needy through the Community Meals Programs.

Proceeds also help provide the low-income population assistance with rent, utilities, bills, gasoline and other basic needs through the network’s Emergency Crisis Clinic, FWCCN volunteer Doug Johnson said. The organization serves Federal Way and Northeast Tacoma residents.

The Souper Supper began nine years ago when the network realized these residents needed more help than FWCCN could provide alone, Johnson said.

“We felt we really needed a major fundraiser to support when our program grew and the community came to rely on us more and more,” he said. “We’re trying to keep people housed and fed and this is a major fundraising effort to do those things.”

The crisis clinic requires an annual budget of approximately $60,000, Johnson said. The Souper Supper is the largest contributing fundraiser to that budget, he said. The group hopes to bring in $10,000 this year. In 2007, 300 people attended the supper and $8,500 was raised, he said.

This year, the need is greater because of the slumping economy. Last year, the caregiving network gave out 187 gas vouchers, according to its October newsletter. As of July, 184 vouchers had been awarded, according to the newsletter.

“This year we will exhaust our budget and (the increased need will) take us down to our reserves,” Johnson said.

Budget constraints force volunteers to make tough choices as to who receives help. With a fixed budget, assisting an individual in remaining sheltered is a top priority, Johnson said.

“Our number one objective is to keep Federal Way residents in their homes,” he said.

Souper Supper attendees will help the caregiving network accomplish this goal. They will be treated with a selection of 12 soups, donated by local restaurants and grocers, such as Metropolitan Market and Olive Garden. New to the list of donors this year is Browns Point Diner. The caregiving network asked each establishment to donate its favorite or most popular soup variety. Cornbread, coffee and desserts will also be provided. The event is set up to resemble a soup line.

“We make it a soup line because that’s the old way of doing it, and it gives people the idea of what it’s like to be hungry,” said Bonnie Orvis, the caregiving network’s SOS program coordinator.

Tickets are sold by the table; each table seats eight and is priced at $120, or individually for $15. A raffle will also take place.

“It’s fun,” Johnson said. “It’s really come to be a community event.”

The fundraising is an effort to support an organization that serves as a short-term solution to a the large-scale problem of homelessness.

“We are not a long-term solution, but we are there to prevent things from getting worse (for the needy),” Orvis said. “That’s really needed in the community.”


Check it out:

The ninth annual Souper Supper will take place 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Steel Lake Presbyterian Church, 1829 S. 308th St. Tickets are available at the door or by calling Leonard Mckinnon at (253) 874-2191.

The event costs $120 per table or $15 per person.

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