Soup's hot

Annual supper aims to bowl over hunger

Posted: Thursday, August 25, 2005


  Hand-crafted bowls are featured at this Friday's 9th annual Soup Supper and Auction for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Hand-crafted bowls are featured at this Friday's 9th annual Soup Supper and Auction for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

For 17 years, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has been motivated by a single concept: that no one ought to go hungry in a community of such wealth and generosity.

Friday, that community will show its support once again at the food bank's annual soup supper.

Soup Supper 2005 will be the 9th annual and this year will be associated with the national group Empty Bowls, a program begun in Michigan in 1990 as a way of reminding people there are hungry stomachs here and around the world.

The food bank's soup suppers were originally held at the agency headquarters at 33955 Community College Drive off Kalifornsky Beach Road. But over the years, the event has grown so large it had to be moved to larger and larger facilities.

Friday's event will be held at Kenai Landing beginning at 5:30 p.m. Some 400 tickets at $35 each are being sold to the gathering.

Roughly 20 potters from the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage will donate handcrafted bowls, which each ticket-holder will use for their soup and keep when the event is over, said Linda Swarner, food bank director.

"We'll have a choice of several different kinds of soups, and this year we'll have guest chefs from Mykel's, Kenai Landing and Timber Wolf Lodge. That's a new addition to the event," Swarner said.

The evening will feature a live auction, silent auction and a raffle offering a $2,000 prize and a variety of other prizes. Raffle tickets are $20, but those buying a soup supper ticket as well can purchase both for $50.

Many of the bowls to be used Friday are being hand-thrown by local potters associated with the Kenai Fine Arts Center. Potters Guild President Carol Walkiewicz said the artists have been making bowls for the event for the past five or six years and that attendees can expect a wide variety of designs, each exhibiting the unique touch of its potter. Artists have been working since spring throwing the pots and the center's kiln has been active.

"We've had six of seven firings," she said. "A firing can take from 11 to 15 hours."

Some bowls come from artists in Anchorage who share their creations with the soup supper event, just as peninsula bowls get sent to Anchorage each year for a similar supper held at Bean's Caf, Wal-kiewicz said.

Some who have attended the soup supper for several years seek out a specific artist's bowl because they like their work. An artist signature list will be available, she said.

Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Inc. has grown significantly over its 17 years, thanks to donations from individuals, small and large business, and corporations such as BP, ConocoPhillips and Tesoro, Swarner said.

Some 57 member peninsula agencies including senior citizen groups, churches, daycare centers, Boys and Girls clubs and the like tap into the food bank's central warehouse stores.

Last year the food bank took in some 853,000 pounds of foodstuffs, disbursing through member agencies and directly to needy residents more than 716,000 pounds valued at over $1 million, Swarner noted.

Distribution is peninsula-wide.

For instance, the Homer Food Panty is a member agency serving as a distribution point to programs targeting seniors and children, among others. Other programs active from Anchor Point to Seward also rely on Kenai Peninsula Food Bank resources.

Swarner, who has been involved with the food bank since April 2003, said the agency has 11 full- and part-time employees, but also depends heavily on its volunteers.

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