SoupFest warms the heart, heals the soul and helps the community

The 8th Annual Port Cares SoupFest is approaching and the soup prep team from Port Cares, from left: Dean Rochefort, food security, Amanda Upper, site supervisor Reach Out Centre and Sarah Eller, manager client serives Port Cares are dipping their ladles and spoons in the pot to come up with a great soup for this year’s presentation.

We are all invited to raise a bowl and dip our spoons to help end hunger in our community, the 8th Annual Port Cares SoupFest is Thursday Apr. 6.

“This is one of the premiere community events in our town,” Port Cares executive director Christine Clark Lafleur said. “SoupFest is a gathering of people all across the community to come together, break some bread and raise some vital funds for the operation of the Reach Out Centre.”

The event is being held at the Italian Canadian Cultural Centre at 223 Bell St. in Port Colborne Thursday Apr. 6th from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

“In two hours there’s a whole lot that happens,” Clark Lafleur said. “Same great place (as last year), same great format and some amazing new recipes.”

Soup prep teams from Niagara College, Lakeshore Catholic High School, Port Colborne High School and from Port Cares are hard at work right now getting their recipes ready for the event. Each team prepares two soups. There will be eight soups in total. Tim Hortons will again be providing the coffee, tea and cookies this year.

“We had a record crowd last year,” Clark Lafleur said. “We are hoping to have the same or more this year.”

Last year the soup prep team from the Port Cares Reach Out won the people’s choice award.

“We don’t want to brag too much because it’s not a competition,” Karin DiBiase director of fundraising and development for Port Cares said. “We do offer the guests an opportunity to vote for their favourite soup, however, it’s a friendly competition.”

Dean Rochefort, food security at Port Cares Reach Out Centre put together last year’s award winning soup.

“I came up with the idea last year to do a Mulligatawny Soup,” Rochefort said. “I was just basically looking for a unique different flavour and found it in the Mulligatawny Soup.”

“This year we are going to have a Leek and Potato Soup for the vegetarians because last year there was no vegetarian choice,” he said. “And we are doing a Bean Taco Tortilla soup as well.”

“The soups that are being prepared by the schools right now are still secret,” DiBiase said. “I’m not quite sure what the schools have up their sleeves but they always come up with some really cool soups.”

“We do put together a commemorative booklet with all the recipes in it for people to take home,” she said.

They joked how all the schools like to keep their recipes a secret until the last minute.

“It’s funny, it’s all top secret,” Rochefort said. “But, it’s not a competition.”

“Hopefully we will raise $5,000 or more, that’s our target,” Clark Lafleur said. “Those proceeds go into the direct operation of the Reach Out Centre.”

The centre provides support for the community all year round.

The centre has between 26,000  –  28,000 lbs of food go out into the community per month. There is just short of 1,200 people in the community registered with the program that need help. They also provide a meal program for the community.

“We do get support from the Ontario Association of Foodbanks, but, it’s really the local donations and the ongoing food drives that carry this centre through the year.”

“We are continually getting new registrants,” she said.

The work that the Reach Out Centre does is important to the community. This case study summarizes the work they do, Case Study: Port Cares Reach Out Food Centre

Tickets for this year’s SoupFest are $15.00 each available through Port Cares or at the door. Call 905 834 3629 ext 245 or visit the Port Cares website  for more info.



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