Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church agreed to extend Soup’s Not On for the remainder of the year in hopes of raising more money for Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District.
Initial plans were to hold the fundraiser during February with a possible extension into March, but Cindy Brittingham, event organizer, said she learned the need has been “too great” for CAC.
“With the pandemic we will be going into the second fiscal year starting July 1 without any fundraisers on the books, so between fundraisers and contributions made by individuals, businesses, organizations, things like that, that’s 45% of our budget,” Chris Evans-Longmire, CAC executive director, said. “Soup’s On, for example, that single event usually makes about $7,000. That’s just one of the three to four annual fundraising events that we count on to help us meet the operational needs of the budget to cover services to child abuse victims because, of course, there’s no charge to any child that needs our services no matter how many services they need for how long they need them.
“It’s important,” she added. “It helps us be able to meet the needs of child abuse victims and non-offending family members’ advocacy for these kids, accompaniment for these kids, forensic interviews, therapy.”
Soup’s Not On is a spin-off of the annual Soup’s On fundraiser and includes a community-wide effort with Tellico Working Together and Tellico Village churches.
In years past, residents would come to the church and eat soup on site. The pandemic forced organizers to get creative. With each donation, supporters can request at least one of four recipes, including Chock-full of Veggies Chili, Potato Sausage Soup, Comforting Beef Vegetable Soup and Fiesta Chicken Tortilla Soup.
“We wanted to keep the idea of Soup’s On in their mind,” Brittingham said. “I had a little note from one of the checks that came in at CAC and said it, ‘This is really a unique idea. Quite impressed with the idea.’ It’s a simple way of keeping the Soup’s On in people’s mind without the actual product.”
The fundraiser has collected at least $3,565, with contributions from Kiwanis Club of Tellico Village, GFWC Tellico Village Women’s Club and Christ Our Savior. Brittingham hoped for $5,000.
“I think by working with Tellico Working Together we got a lot of the support that we normally would have got from Tellico Village, but what we’re probably missing is we usually got a lot of support from the community, too,” the Rev. Brian Truog, Christ Our Savior pastor, said. “A lot of people would take their lunch break from work and bring the whole crew out here. I know the government offices there, they always had a lot of people come out here. We kind of miss that connection with the community at large.”
The church matched the congregation’s $1,000, Truog said.
“We just think that Child Advocacy Center is such an important institution to be supporting and felt disappointed that we couldn’t do what we normally would do with Soup’s On, so we wanted to do something,” Truog said. “We know that they’re working harder than ever in what they do through this pandemic, so we wanted to find a way to bring them the support that they need.”
Evans-Longmire knew the amount would likely be down this year.
“Given the fact that the event normally takes place in person, it takes place at their church, Christ Our Savior, our board is there, our staff is there, we have volunteers, we have a lot of fellowship, we get to talk about services that the Child Advocacy Center offers,” Evans-Longmire said. “We’re able to help people understand through the stories that some of the kids share with us about what it means to be here, what it meant to be helped by Kids First. People get to ask questions so they have their own understanding. When you remove everything that provides a deeper and greater understanding and you’ve got a virtual event, the fact that it’s made at least $3,400, I think it’s pretty incredible.”
Brittingham asks that donors now send checks directly to CAC, specifically noting what the gift is for. If someone wants a recipe, they should include a note. Checks, made out to CAC, can be sent to P.O. Box 928, Lenoir City, TN 37771.
“Our tremendous appreciation to those folks for being willing to take this on and to continue to support the Child Advocacy Center child abuse victims. We really appreciate it,” Evans-Longmire said.