Annual food bank auction to fill bowls, involve community

Local organizers are gearing up to make sure this year’s Soup Supper Auction fills as many stomachs as possible, both at the annual event and throughout the community.

Put on by the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank with the help of numerous sponsors, the auction will return for its nineteenth year on Aug. 29 at Kenai Central High School. The doors will open at 5 p.m., with the event beginning at 5:30 p.m., said Kenai Peninsula Food Bank Executive Director Linda Swarner.

“My goal would be to beat last year’s record because it’s all about feeding the hungry people on the Kenai Peninsula, and we touch 20 percent of the population,” she said.

That level of service means the food bank puts out around 8,000 meals each year, Swarner said. The Soup Supper Auction is the main fundraiser that supports the food bank’s operation. Last year, it brought in close to $100,000, Swarner said.

Swarner, who became directly involved with the auction after its fourth or fifth year, said it has moved locations three times over the years to accommodate a growing number of participants. She expects the event to fill the 400 seats at the Kenai Central High School.

“We have a very generous community and there’s an awesome staff,” Swarner said. “The Kenai Central High School staff help us tremendously and without them, we couldn’t do it.”

For the price of a $50 admission ticket, attendees will walk away with one of several hundred hand-crafted bowls after using them to devour homemade soup during the event. This year, Swarner said ceramic and wooden bowls have been donated by the Kenai Potters Guild, members of the Kenai Peninsula Girl Scouts, The Arc of Anchorage and local artisans and potters.

The food bank is still collecting bowls for the event, she said. Two featured soups on this year’s menu are halibut chowder and a vegetarian soup.

Bobbi Stelljes, owner of Fine Thyme Cafe in Soldotna, has been one of several people cooking and serving soups for the auction for about seven years. She said hearing Swarner speak so enthusiastically and passionately about the event was reason enough to get involved.

“It’s a wonderful social thing,” Stelljes said. “The good that it does for the community is awesome.”

Juggling the needs of her restaurant on top of planning for the auction can be a struggle, and Stelljes said it is all about the timing. Swarner, too, noted how much planning goes into the food bank’s largest event of the year, saying that she and others are already planning for next year’s auction. Stelljes said she enjoys being able to serve her soups to attendees in addition to cooking them with the help of her sister, Jerri Scott.

“It gives me much, much joy to see the smiles on people’s faces when they eat my soup,” Stelljes said. “I just love the people, and I love the cause of course.”

The event will feature both a live and silent auction and a raffle in addition to dinner. Raffle tickets are $100 and are available both before and during the event, Swarner said. There are 100 raffle tickets to be bought.

Joe Gallagher, Homer Electric Association’s Director of Member Relations, will serve as the event’s emcee for the first time, though he is no stranger to the auction itself.

“My wife and I have attended the Soup Supper Auction several times over the past years,” Gallagher said. “We always try to help out in whatever way we can.”

When Swarner approached Gallagher with the proposition of being the emcee, he said it took him only seconds to agree. If he is asked back in the future, he said he would be more than happy to fill the position again.

“I guess we’ll see how it goes,” Gallagher said. “I’m definitely excited about it. Of course we hope there will be a big turn out, and I look forward to meeting with Linda (Swarner).”

Soup Supper Auction organizers are still accepting items for the auctions, Swarner said. Tickets for the event can be purchased at Charlotte’s Bakery in Kenai or at River City Books in Soldotna, and residents can call 907-262-3111 for more information.

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchorage, Alaska, looks at an oversized booklet explaining election changes in the state on Jan. 21, 2022. Alaska elections will be held for the first time this year under a voter-backed system that scraps party primaries and sends the top four vote-getters regardless of party to the general election, where ranked choice voting will be used to determine a winner. No other state conducts its elections with that same combination. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
How Alaska’s new ranked choice election system works

The Alaska Supreme Court last week upheld the system, narrowly approved by voters in 2020.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to a joint meeting of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, for his fourth State of the State address of his administration. Dunleavy painted a positive picture for the state despite the challenges Alaska has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Gov points ‘North to the Future’

Dunleavy paints optimistic picture in State of the State address

A COVID-19 test administrator discusses the testing process with a patient during the pop-up rapid testing clinic at Homer Public Health Center on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Free rapid COVID-19 testing available in Homer through Friday

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be held at Homer Public Health Center this week.

In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. Palin is on the verge of making new headlines in a legal battle with The New York Times. A defamation lawsuit against the Times, brought by the brash former Alaska governor in 2017, is set to go to trial starting Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 at all-time high statewide

The state reported 5,759 new cases sequenced from Jan. 21-23

Volunteers serve food during Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 25, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)
Project Homeless Connect to provide services, support on Wednesday

The event will be held at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools aim for business as usual as cases reach new highs

On Monday, there were 14 staff members and 69 students self-isolating with the virus

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate construction on hold as theater seeks additional funding

The new theater is projected to cost around $4.7 million.

Most Read