CES 'Soup for the Soul' returns March 14

Culver Elementary School's Soup for the Soul will return for a fourth helping March 14, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the school cafeteria, which is good news not only for hungry diners in the community and the students who will serve them, but the charities benefiting from the popular event as well.

As in the past, “Soup” will showcase the talents and dedication of CES 6th grade students, which this year for the first time will include former Monterey Elementary students as well. Students have been hard at work creating hand-made bowls, mugs, plates, and other items for use in the meal, which they will help set up, serve, and clean up after.

For $5 a person (or $20 per family), community members receive an “unlimited” mug or bowl of soup donated by a variety of Culver's eateries, as well as bread, drinks, desserts, and assorted trimmings. The hand-made creations, which attendees may choose from a wide array, are for diners to keep, and this year 6th grade teacher Missy Trent says they're “the most creative we've ever seen! Maybe each year (students are) trying to outdo each other.”

She and CES art teacher Joyce Lyman point to student creations ranging from a cowboy hat-shaped bowl, to a series of fruit-themed bowls, the work of student Lance Beaver, a transfer from Monterey who will experience Soup for the Soul for the first time.

“I rolled (the clay) out and it kind of looked like an apple. Mrs. Lyman got me into all the fruits. I'm doing a whole series. I've done eight or nine so far.

“Soup for the Soul is a good cause for something neat,” he adds.
Another fund-raising aspect of the event is its recurring silent auction, for which a number of items have already been donated, says Trent. Among them: a football autographed and sent by the Chicago Bears. The Indianapolis Colts have also promised to send something a few weeks before “Soup” takes place, she notes.

Trent is hoping for a response from TV talk show host Ellen Degeneres, to whom she sent one of Beaver's fruit-themed bowls.

“I've emailed her almost daily since we started this,” Trent smiles. “I'm hoping she'll read my email...I (asked) if she could help us out some way.”

She says part of her persistence with Degeneres is to show students that “you just don't give up; you keep on.”

Near the start of the school year, all the students wrote letters to celebrities asking for auction items, Trent explains, and some have come in, including an autographed autobiography from Donald Trump. Other offerings include gift certificates and items from local stores, restaurants, and floral shops.

A Facebook page has also been created for this year's event, which will be regularly updated as Soup for the Soul draws near. Trent points out it can be found under “Culver Community Soup for the Soul.”

“It's really a community thing (as opposed to only a school event), I think,” she says.

Trent says monies raised always go to Culver's food pantry as well as those in the counties feeding into the Culver Community school system, including Starke, Pulaski, and Fulton. Its likely funds will also go to Heminger House women's shelter in Plymouth as well as area animal shelters.

Trent says she tries to raise the financial goal $500 each year, so the 2012 event goal is $4,000.

She also says the $5 entrance fee has stayed the same in spite of some suggestions it be raised this year.

“This community is not as well off as people think it is,” she notes.

Trent and Lyman also encourage anyone in the community with an interest, to stop by the CES art room Thursdays after school until 4:30 p.m., to make a bowl or mug, something opened up to faculty members already.”

Anyone with questions, or wishing to donate towards the silent auction, may contact Trent by email at trent@culver.k12.in.us.