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Monday, July 19, 2010

St. Susan Center Preparing For Annual Soup Fundraiser at Italian Fisherman

By Dave Emke,

POSTED: July 19, 2010

To help keep putting food on the table for community members who need it every day, St. Susan Center is calling for help to make some bowls.

The soup kitchen is currently asking for volunteers to paint ceramic bowls for its third annual Souper Summer Event - formerly known as the Empty Bowl Lunch. Sue Colwell, executive director of St. Susan Center, said the soup kitchen is hoping to have 800 bowls painted by members of the community and available for sale at the Aug. 18 event in Bemus Point.

''We're continuing to look for people - youth groups, scout troops or individuals - who want to come down to the Center to paint bowls, or who want to pick up their own and do it at home,'' she said. ''It's a lot of fun.''

Ms. Colwell said the Center will provide all materials needed to decorate the bowls, including brushes and paint. A church group from Florida recently came to St. Susan's to paint bowls and spent several days there on the task, she said.

All told, the 800-bowl goal is about halfway met, Ms. Colwell said. In addition to volunteers for the painting task, she said she is also looking for community volunteers to donate painted glass and handmade ceramic bowls to help toward the goal.

''As much as the community can give us will help,'' she said.

At the actual fundraiser event in August, held on Lakeside Drive in Bemus Point next to the Italian Fisherman, more than a dozen restaurants will gather to share their soups, Ms. Colwell said.

For $10, people will be able to receive three bowls of soup as well as the handpainted bowl of their choice.

All proceeds raised at the event will go toward the services provided by St. Susan's Soup Kitchen - and there will be other fundraising activities on top of the bowl sales.

Denny Wright from Magic Moment Carriage Rides will be there, and he will donate all proceeds he raises, Ms. Colwell said. Andy Dawes from Bemus Point Pottery will also make 100 special bowls for the event, Ms. Colwell said, with sales supporting the soup kitchen.

A fundraising activity that has already benefited the Center, Ms. Colwell said, was orchestrated by Southwestern Middle School students.

''They made ceramic bowls and sold them, and then they donated the proceeds to St. Susan Center,'' she said. The project raised $287 for the soup kitchen, and the students donated the leftover bowls to the Souper Summer Event, she added.

Ms. Colwell said that parents who are looking for a summer activity for their children should contact the Center and bring them down to express their creativity by painting bowls.

''There are some really good artists, but it's just really neat to see the kids paint the bowls and put their thought and ideas into it,'' she said. ''If you have kids, I would think a parent might want to come down and purchase their child's bowl or another bowl that was painted by one of the kids.''

The soup kitchen is serving approximately 50 to 100 more meals each day now that students are out of school for the summer, Ms. Colwell said. Combine that with the fact that donations are traditionally down during the summer months, and fundraisers such as the upcoming Souper Summer Event are of the utmost importance to the Center.

''People tend to think of us as soon as November hits - lots of people do fundraisers then,'' she said. ''But we are open 365 days a year.''

The Souper Summer Event will be held on Lakeside Drive in Bemus Point on Wednesday, Aug. 18, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Local artists will also be playing on the Bemus Bay Pops Floating Stage during the event, including keyboardist/singer Michael Lettieri and 9-year-old jazz performer Chance Scott. For more information about the event, including to donate items or to paint bowls, call the Center at 664-2253.

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