Soup cans containing prizes sold for $100 a can at annual Soup Supper at Kenai Landing
It was a massive turnout for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank’s autumn Soup Supper. By 5:30pm the line extended all the way back to the parking lot at Kenai Landing, as hundreds of community supporters waited to select their personal gift soup bowl and have it filled with one of the homemade soup sensations being offered. According to Linda Swarner, director of the Food Bank, roughly 20 potters from the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage donated the handcrafted bowls. As guests entered they were greeted by the musical styling of Jack Will and Sue Biggs. It wasn’t long before a hand went up filled with cash, “Here’s an extra $50 for the Food Bank if Sue and Jack will play Orange Blossom Special.” Another bluegrass fan matched the $50 and Sue and Jack took off with their hand clapping foot stomping rendition of Orange Blossom Special, setting the stage for Norm Blakeley to take bids on a variety of items donated and sold to benefit the Food Bank.
“The Soup Supper grossed over $50,000 making it a record breaking event!!!!” reported Swarner. 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. According to Swarner, so far in 2005 the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has seen 274 new clients seeking Direct Service food items, an average of over 34 each month. Direct Service items are perishable foods such as milk, vegetables and fruits.
Bluegrass favorite Susan Biggs entertained at annual Soup Supper
“Through the end of July the average number of diners at the Soup Kitchen was 1,829 which is a decrease from 2004 although the number of households seeking commodities dramatically increased from an average of 494 households in each month in 2004 to 553 in 2005. In 2004 over 716,000 pounds of food products were distributed to member agencies, Direct Service and Commodity clients with a total value of over $1million dollars!” said Swarner.
The event started nine years ago and originally was held at the agency headquarters on K-Beach Rd. The popularity of the Soup Supper soon sent the board of directors looking for larger and larger accommodations with this year’s ticket sales topping 400. The evening also featured a silent auction and a raffle offering a $2,000 prize and a variety of other prizes. The professional chefs from Mykel’s, Kenai Landing, and Timber Wolf Lodge, utilized home grown 4-H meats and vegetables. Additionally Swarner reported that some 57 member peninsula agencies including senior citizen groups, churches, daycare centers, and Boys and Girls clubs tap into the food bank’s central warehouse stores.
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