Soup’s on for Kenai Peninsula Food Bank fundraiser

On Saturday the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank will be hosting the 21st installment of its annual Soup Supper and Auction, a dinner event that food bank executive director Linda Swarner said raises between 15 to 20 percent of the food bank’s cash budget.

“We’re having to feed more hungry people on the peninsula, so we’re needing to raise more money,” Swarner said. “… We’re seeing approximately 800 families a month just asking for food assistance, and that doesn’t include the individuals who come into the Fireweed Diner (soup kitchen) and have lunch, which is open every day Monday through Friday.”

Last year the food bank served an average 769 families a month, up from an average of 609 families a month in 2012, Swarner said. Since Alaska entered the present economic downturn, “we’ve seen families that were just getting by aren’t getting by as easily,” she said.

The food bank’s expenses include gas, heat, light, insurance, salaries, and the gasoline used by trucks in the food bank’s direct service program, which make daily runs to pick up donated food from grocery stores and fish processors. While other funds come from individual and business donations, United Way charitable funding, and the Pick Click Give program — which encourages Alaskans to donate from their permanent fund dividend checks — the money raised by the Soup Supper and Auction has stayed steady over the years, Swarner said. The food pantry’s other fundraising event, the Clash of the Culinary Kings cooking competition, is smaller in comparison.

Like the food bank’s soup suppers before it, this weekend’s will be an “empty bowl” event — a fundraising concept created in 1990 by a Michighan art teacher, in which local potters donate artistic clay bowls for diners to purchase and fill with soup. Attendees — who have numbered about 400 in the past — will be able to ladel these artistic bowls full with offers from local restaurants and caterers such as Louie’s, the Fine Thyme Cafe, Mykel’s, the Flats, and others. The soups include tomato basil, clam chowder, a vegetarian soup, and a food bank soup supper favorite, halibut chowder. There will be several chef’s choice soups as well.

The auction, Swarner said, “has something for everybody — from a halibut rod to a pie for dessert.” Specific items include Native artwork, artwork by the local lithographer Jim Evenson, quilts, 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles, a trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks on the Alaska Railroad, another train trip from Anchorage to Denali with two nights at the Princess Lodge, and a raffle — limited to 100 tickets, available for $100 each — for two round-trip tickets to any Alaska Airlines destination except Cuba.

As in past soup supper auctions, Sen. Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) will serve as auctioneer and Triumvirate Theatre president Joe Rizzo will be master of ceremonies.

The supper will start at 5 p.m at Kenai Central High School. Tickets are $50, and available at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank or on its website.

Reach Ben Boettger at benjamin.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read