Dill Pickle soup was one of many soups to enjoy with artisan bread during a Toledo SOUP event at the Toledo School for the Arts Sunday. Toledo SOUP is a crowd-funding opportunity for community members to help promote and fund small dollar community-based projects by making $5 donations, which gives them a soup dinner and one vote on four community-based projects presented to the audience.
Cute kids help every sales pitch.
With wriggling babies and a toddler in tow, Toledo mentoring program Sisters in Law won over the audience at Toledo SOUP on Sunday, receiving nearly $2,600 from the fund-raising event.
SOUP is a quarterly event that fund-raises for community-oriented projects in Toledo. The soup supper, donated by local chefs, gives organizations a platform to pitch their ideas. Guests use their $5 admission ticket to vote for their favorite presenter. The winning group receives all money raised. Active since 2012, the group’s Sunday event was at Toledo School for the Arts.
Mom's House Executive Director Christina Rodriguez, left who is holding Carson Wachowiak, 8 months, and who benefits from the program, and Gretchen DeBacker, right, present Sisters-in-Law during a Toledo SOUP event.
Sisters in Law is a volunteer group of female attorneys that provides legal advocacy and mentoring to mothers at Mom’s House. Presenting on Sunday were the co-founders, Toledo attorney Gretchen DeBacker and Mom’s House Executive Director Christina Rodriguez. They provide free legal counseling as well as mentoring for young, low-income, single mothers who are pursuing an education.
“These guys are up here purely as bribery,” Ms. DeBacker joked, gesturing at the children. In addition to Ms. DeBacker and Ms. Rodriguez, mentor-mentee team Kate Sandretto and Maraysia Dean shared what the group has meant to them. Ms. DeBacker said the money would pay for three group events in 2015. There are 13 attorneys and 13 young mothers in the program, which began in August.
Four groups vied for community funds Sunday. Each gave a short presentation explaining their mission and what they would do with the money.
Silke Goudos told of 419Tales, a bimonthly podcast documenting stories of life in Toledo.
Dee Brown, of Delightful Art with Dee, told about her nonprofit art gallery that provides local artists a positive atmosphere to share their work.
Sandy Sieben discussed Toledo Youth Pages, a prevention tool that targets at-risk youth with information on social and educational services, criminal justice and health care.
Silke Goudos presents 419tales during a Toledo SOUP event at the Toledo School for the Arts.
After the win, Ms. DeBacker said she was blown away by the support and the final fund-raising total.
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “It’s so exciting that people connected with it and now we can hit the ground running.”
SOUP events draw people together, said SOUP committee member Ryan Bunch.
“It’s really about building community around all the different things that are happening,” he said. “There is so much amazing work going on in the city that doesn’t get a chance to get highlighted. It’s a fun way to get people to buy in and actually help support these organizations.”
Participants dined on soup made and donated by Pam Weirauch of Pam’s Corner in Toledo, Alex Sutphin of Ciao Bella Ristorante Italiano in Port Clinton, and Aaron Hensley of The House of Eats at the Bier Stube in Toledo. In addition to the $5 entrance fee, a raffle and bake sale added to the funds.
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