The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank will host its 20th annual Soup Supper fundraiser this at 5:30 p.m Saturday at Kenai Central High School in Kenai.
The nonprofit organization provides food to more than 72 nonprofit organizations and local households annually. They touch a little more than 20 percent of the borough population, a little more than 11,000 people in the community.
Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Executive Director Linda Swarner said she anticipates the event will raise 20 percent of the organization’s annual budget.
“We rely heavily on the generosity of the community since we do not receive any government funding for our program,” Swarner said. “In June we served 831 households, and 768 in July. Both of these were substantially higher than the previous year.”
She said she wasn’t sure of the reason for the increase but thought it might be due to the increase in population in the area.
In 2015, the food bank processed over 1 million pounds of donated food, making up over 8,000 meals all distributed throughout the community. Events such as the Soup Supper help to raise awareness and provide the funding to provide those meals, Swarner said. Volunteers staff the event, which relies on donated items and food.
A local group of six women have donated their time to gather and assemble baskets that will be auctioned off in both the silent and live auctions at the event. Businesses and community members donated the items for each basket. Each of the women is given a designated portion of the peninsula to seek out these donated items. This is Karen Fogarty’s fourth year creating baskets for the Soup Supper.
“We receive donations from all over the area,” Fogarty said. “We have a total of 180 baskets for this year’s event, and the whole project is one big group effort that we all work together to accomplish.”
There will be numerous other items up for bid in both the silent and live auction. There will also be a raffle where one lucky winner will win a ticket to anywhere they want to fly on Alaska Airlines. All proceeds from the auction and raffle will benefit the Food Bank.
Each attendee can sample 14-15 different soups provided by local chefs and will each receive a locally handcrafted bowl to take home. Some of the participating restaurants include The Flats Bistro, Kenai Catering, Odie’s Deli and many others who have all volunteered and donated their time to the event.
There will be two gluten-free and one vegan option available. In addition to the soup there will be snacks, a chocolate fountain and cupcakes provided by the Cake Lady in Sterling.
“We use all of the donations and expenses to feed people, because no one deserves to be hungry,” Swarner said. “The entire event is one large group effort.”
Tickets to the event, which cost $50 per person, are still available at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, Charlotte’s Restaurant in Kenai, or River City Books in Soldotna.