News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 1, 2014

Full bowls fighting hunger

Soup bowl raises money for foodbank

Dianne Frances D. Powell
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A bowl of soup to fight hunger in the Wabash Valley.

This was the simple but powerful concept of the fourth Soup Bowl Benefit Saturday at Maryland Community Church in Terre Haute.

The sound of music and conversation filled the church’s atrium as more than 500 people enjoyed bread, desserts and, of course, soups poured on colorful bowls crafted by local artists. The event was sold out.

“Through a simple bowl of soup, a spotlight is shone on the issues of hunger in our community and friends and neighbors are encouraged to share their abundance with those in need,” according to a release.

Dozens of sponsors and hundreds of volunteers from the community worked to make the benefit a success.

Sr. Mary Montgomery, the event’s committee chairwoman, said over $11,000 was raised this year just on ticket sales.

“Our hope is always to do better than the previous year,” she said ,adding that everything is a success because it goes to an important cause.

The event benefits Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, which feeds the hungry in seven counties in the Valley. The event has raised more than $47,000 to support the Foodbank, according to a release.

But “the awareness raised by this event is priceless,” said Lorrie Heber, another committee member.

Attendees purchased a handmade bowl for $25 and had it filled with soup made by area chefs and restaurants.

“The connection between a warm soup and hunger is strong,” Heber said. “One $25 ticket can provide up to a hundred meals. … It’s a powerful $25.”

Attendees Tom and Linda Sturtevant of Terre Haute came in just after the first of two seatings began.

They went to a room where dozens of bowls — which attendees then got to keep — were laid out for them to pick from.

Tom chose a bowl close to him and said, “The idea is the support for the community. The bowl is just a plus.”

But Linda took great care in picking her bowl. In the end, she decided on a gray bowl with blue, burgundy and green spots. She said she liked the colors, and “I like knowing somebody made it.”

She flipped it and looked at the bottom.

“RRR made it,” she said.

Before sitting down for the program and music, the couple looked at more than a dozen different soups to decide which one to try first. There was beef noodle soup, apple pumpkin soup, veggie lentil and gumbo, among others but they finally settled on Chicken Gnocchi.

But it was not just about the bowls and the soup.

“I believe Catholic Charities is a wonderful presence in our community. They serve hundreds of people and if I can help by purchasing the ticket, I think it’s a good thing to do,” Linda said.  “I don’t want anybody to go hungry. ...We have far too many in our community.”

“In today’s world, nobody should go hungry,” she said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or