Culver ‘Soup for the Soul’ returns March 29

Students and faculty hope the proverbial third time’s a charm for the student-led “Soup for the Soul” community event slated for Tuesday, March 29, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Culver Elementary School. For two years running, the event, originally the brainchild of CES 6th grade teacher Missy Trent and art teacher Joyce Lyman, saw 6th graders creating a wide array of hand-made pottery in the form of bowls, ladels, cups, and other items, in which community-donated soup is served to diners from the community, who then take home and keep the student-made items.
This year, says Trent, the student-created keepsakes have been expanded to dessert plates, with student-designed t-shirts (which the kids will wear on the 29th) are also part of the package. “They’re doing an amazing job with the designs,” she says. “It’s looking awesome.”
And students not only create the pottery (and other items which will be sold at the event), but also prepare the CES cefeteria, serve the food, and clean up the room afterwards. “Soup” makes for a busy several weeks and an even busier evening for the students, but the event has not only garnered high praise from the many who came to partake -- it’s also raised money for area charities. The first event, in the fall of 2008, led to a $1,500 donation to Plymouth’s Heminger House women’s shelter. The event was moved to spring the following year, and last April the ante was upped and around $3,000 was brought in. Portions of this were given to the Culver food pantry, Marshall County and Starke County Humane Societies, and the Center for the Homeless in South Bend, and the “wish” of Marshall County Make-A-Wish youngster Carter Rudd (Trent says remaining funds were set aside for this year’s Make-A-Wish effort as well).
Recipients of this year’s proceeds are still being discussed, but Trent says there’s definite hope of donating to food pantries in the areas from which students hail, this time around.
Food served on the 29th will include not only soup, but bread, desserts, drinks, and more, all donated by various restaurants, organizations, and individuals in the community. Further, each year has seen an increasing array of quality items donated for a silent auction accompanying “Soup.” Trent says she’s consistently been amazed at the generosity of businesses and others in such donations for the event, and she’s not been disappointed thus far this year.
One new aspect of this year’s event will be six “theme” baskets (such as Italian, movie night, bath and body, and the like) made by 6th graders at North Judson, thanks to the efforts of a teacher friend of Trent’s there.
“I thought it was a great way for the students to learn about other schools helping each other,” explains Trent, “and that you don’t have to live in the community or go to the same school to work together on a project.”
Culver student Jack Rich says making the bowls was “a lot of fun.
“I think it’s a great idea to help those less fortunate because it gives them hope,” he adds. “I have done other service projects with my mom when she worked at Miller’s Merry Manor. I’m planning on doing another one for Mrs. Trent’s class.”
Fellow student Gabby McCarty especially enjoyed making the dessert plates (she made eight or 10 of them!)
“I like the idea of doing this for others, because it is like lending a helping hand,” she notes. “My family has helped other families in the past, and it makes me feel good.”