Soup's Not On will benefit children

Hannah Ridenour, left, and Beth Catchot serve soup to attendees during the 2019 Soup’s On dinner at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church.

In response to the pandemic, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church has put together Soup’s Not On, a spin-off of the annual Soup’s On fundraiser in hopes of raising money for Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District.

The initiative has become a community-wide effort with Tellico Working Together and Village churches getting involved.

Christ Our Savior typically would host a large dinner with volunteers working tirelessly to prepare soups the week prior. COVID-19 has hindered large gatherings from taking place, which is where Soup’s Not On comes in.

“We’re selling tickets, and the ticket is a recipe card for each of the soups,” Cindy Brittingham, event organizer, said. “There are four in a packet, and if you give us $15, you get one. If you go to $30, you get two. If you go to $45, you get three. If you’re a good donor and give $50, you get them all. Or you can make a donation and not bother with the recipe card.”

Checks and cash will be collected through the end of February and the fundraising effort could extend into March. The official end date will be determined as more organizations join.

Checks, addressed to CAC, can be sent to P.O. Box 928, Lenoir City, or Christ Our Savior at 360 Wade Road W., Loudon. When sending donations, include a note with desired soup recipe cards.

As other organizations join, leaders will instruct members where to send donations.

Brittingham approached the Rev. Brian Truog, Christ Our Savior senior pastor, in December with questions about Soup’s On and fundraising for CAC.

“We’ve talked about it at Tellico Working Together, too, that this is only one of several fundraisers for them that has gotten canceled,” Truog said. “Cindy was pointing out to me this morning that they probably need it even more now because these kids are in situations that are rough to start with. The whole COVID thing has probably tripled the stress they’re under and their family’s under and so forth. We’ve been talking to Tellico Working Together and said, ‘Well, how can we still raise funds for them?’ And that’s where this idea came up.”

Dan Kuzdzal, TWT co-founder, said the group will help Christ Our Savior and CAC as much as possible. The group will meet again at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss involvement.

“I think in general what we would like to do is we would like to take the same approach and talk to the other churches and other civic organizations; the CAC really needs help,” he said. “We all support the CAC. If any of your members individually or you as an organization want to donate, let’s participate in this and bring the community together.”

Christ Our Savior’s church council has agreed to match the first $1,000 in donations. Truog has been told by other Village pastors they may be willing to do something similar.

This would have been the third year of Soup’s On being put on by the church, but it has been a community effort for over a decade, Brittingham said.

Brittingham is glad to help CAC through the pandemic but will miss various aspects of the in-person dinner, which helped more than the children at CAC. At the end of every dinner, excess soup is taken to a soup kitchen in Maryville to feed dozens of homeless people.

“The thing that I really liked about it — No. 1, we were making a contribution to this charity that needs the support, and No. 2, I would look around … and the tables would be full and people were having fellowships,” Brittingham said. “It was January the first year we did it. It was raining and cold and miserable yet people came out, and they’re sitting with their friends and enjoying their evening. I think that’s something that the community gets from it. It’s a big job to make the soups. It’s a big job to serve it. It’s a big job cleaning up. … It’s threefold. The CAC gets money, the community gets fellowship and the soup kitchen gets soup.”

For more information, call Christ Our Savior at 865-458-9407.