Soup for a cause

Alex Doty • Nov 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

The soup was hot and the lines were long as more than 280 people packed the St. Patrick’s Family Center on Thursday afternoon for the 2016 Soup for All.

The annual event, started in 2004, raises money for homelessness prevention programs in the northern part of Ottawa County. Money raised is distributed to area programs via grants.

Last year’s Soup for All raised about $14,000, and event organizers are optimistic about how much was raised at this year’s program.

“I think that we’re going to be close to that this year,” said Karen Reenders, director of The People Center in Spring Lake.

Previous grant recipients include The People Center, The Salvation Army, Love INC, the City of Grand Haven Neighborhood Housing Services, St. Patrick’s-St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and St. John’s Episcopal Church.

See more photos from the event at the Tribune photo gallery.

Reenders said she was pleased with Thursday’s turnout, which included people who chose to dine in and some that grabbed an order to go.

She noted that Soup for All has a loyal following from people who’ve been attending it year after year.

“It’s the same people every year,” she said. “It’s an event.”

While the funds raised from the event aim to make an impact on homelessness in the community, it also provides an opportunity for people involved in the Grand Haven Area Public Schools’ Community C.H.I.L.L. program to participate. 

Student Kennedy Cascio was one of the volunteers bussing tables and lending a hand on Thursday.

“This is my fourth year doing this event, and I loved it ever since,” she said. “It’s nice because it’s also a huge fundraiser, so we get to help everyone out and get to usually do things we usually wouldn’t get to do.”

And even though the students are busy during the bulk of the event, they didn’t walk away with an empty stomach.

“We don’t have any (soup) until the end, but my favorite soup all four years has always been the cheddar broccoli,” Cascio said.

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