SouperFest is one of those community events that just keeps growing year after year.
When it began eight years ago, it was just a small fundraiser for South Church’s senior programming that raised about $1,000 in each of the first few years. Fast-forward to last year and more than 600 people showed up and raised about $34,000 for the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness.
“I’m hoping we have 1,000 guests or more this year,” said Greg Lessard, director of development at the Concord Food Co-op who is handling the management side of SouperFest this year.
So not only is it a great fundraiser for a very important organization in Concord, but it’s also a great time to catch up with old friends, make new ones and, of course, eat lots of soup.
“I always find it to be a wonderful community event,” said Ellen Fries, chairwoman of the coalition’s board of directors.
But there will be one individual missing from the festivities, and that is event founder Jim Kinhan. Kinhan passed away in October after a lengthy battle with cancer. Kinhan created SoupFest, as it was called in the beginning, to help with the senior programming at his church. He was the one who then gave it to the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, and worked tirelessly each year to make sure it was bigger and better.
“Jim’s spirit will be there,” Fries said.
The annual event – which has morphed from just soup in the beginning to a whole day of fun, entertainment and food – will be held Saturday at Rundlett Middle School.
“The whole point of this is to support the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness and to end homelessness in the Concord community,” Fries said.
SoupFest, which we can all agree is the main attraction of the event, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Rundlett cafeteria. But before you sit down to fill your bellies with a variety of soups, breads and desserts, bring the kids to FunFest in the school gymnasium from 2 to 5 p.m. It will be a lot easier for them to sit down for soup if they’ve been running around all afternoon.
SoupFest will feature 30 individually crafted soups (10 more than last year) with flavors like Cheeseburger, Carrot Ginger, Irish Guinness Beef Stew, Traditional Aztec and Soupe Au Pistou, as well as 25 others. There will be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Soups will be given in 5 ½-ounce sample cups so you can try many varieties.
“We have 30 soup chefs and they were all left to pick their own soups, and somehow we have 30 unique soups,” Lessard said.
In addition to the soup, you will have a variety of about 40 breads to choose from, and 30 dessert bakers will provide that all-important tasty sweet for when your meal is done.
“With all the soup, bread and dessert chefs, we have more than 100 volunteers supporting the event,” Lessard said.
FunFest, which is being put on by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Concord, will include minute-to-win-it challenges, mini-golf, football toss and those cool Velcro suits where you can jump and stick to the wall. There will also be a kids zone for children 5 and under.
The students at Concord High School, St. Paul’s School and Rundlett Middle School have been hard at work creating clay bowls that will be sold for $10 each at SouperFest. Professionally created bowls have also been donated for sale and will run up to $40.
Other students at Rundlett have been producing art that will be hanging on the walls at the event to give it a little more color.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under, and will get you into both FunFest and SoupFest. And, of course, if you wanted to donate a little bit more, they will gladly take your money.
Tickets may be purchased at concordhomeless.org/ buy_tickets.aspx before noon on Friday, and will also be available at the door using cash, check, credit card or PayPal if you’re one of those people who wait till the last minute to decide what to do on a Saturday night.
“We’ll take their donations any way they want,” Lessard said.
Money will be used to support the work of the Concord Homeless Resource Center.
“This helps the resource center run,” Fries said.
“Having that as a resource in an important tool for people experiencing homelessness,” Lessard said.
Visit concordhomeless.org for more on SouperFest and for information on the coalition and the resource center.