By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Human Services’ largest and only operational cost fundraiser for the year brings a little bit of football, food, fun, and philanthropy together through the efforts of dozens of volunteers and staff members.
The 13th annual SOUPer Bowl takes place on Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Human Services building, 80 Covenant Way in Canal Winchester. The event provides an opportunity for people to feed their hunger and help the organization keep its doors open.
“These funds are what are used to keep us in our building so that we can continue to serve the community,” said Director Aletha Mullins. “Attendees can come and enjoy a variety of free homemade soups and dessert. With a donation of $10 you can take home a ceramic bowl made by the Canal Winchester High School art students.”
A “half time” bake sale is also available to take home goodies or enjoy them during the SOUPer Bowl, along with tables lined with silent auction baskets and individual items up for bidding.
Planning for the event starts in December with each Human Services staff member responsible for a specific task.
“Collectively, we all go out and seek auction items and bakers,” said Mullins. “Our board is involved as well, whether it is baking goodies, making soup, or putting together silent auction items. They are also gracious enough to tear down after as well.”
Bringing the SOUPer Bowl to fruition is a true community event, with city council members, several groups, businesses and volunteers pitching in alongside Human Services staff and board members working behind the scenes and during the event.
“A group from Cactus Salon has been with us for a couple of years to help serve soup,” said Mullins. “There are also several volunteers throughout the community that will come to help carry trays for the elderly that attend, clean, take the trash out, and work the bake sale or auction. You can normally find members of the Lions Club serving cake and crackers to everyone as well. Several members of local churches get together to make soup. Canal Winchester Middle School art students make banners and posters for us to display and Indian Trail art students color and design the placemats for everyone to enjoy while they eat their soup.”
According to Mullins, several local businesses provide baskets filled with items for the silent auction, as well as local artists and residents. Wendy’s donates bowls and crackers, O’Neil tents provides tables and chairs as a donation, and Joe Dirt assembles the silent auction area.
“There are so many people involved in making this day happen and we are so very thankful to have their support and help,” Mullins said. “We certainly could not do it without everyone’s help. Canal Winchester Human Services is certainly blessed.”
For the last five years—from 2019 to 2023—the SOUPer Bowl raised $65,532. Last year alone, the event raised $12,222. The goal this year is $15,000.
“One definition of the word community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals,” said Mullins. “That definition explains the entire goal of our annual SOUPer Bowl fundraising event. Inviting our community into our facility allows them to see what we do, what programs we offer, meet our staff, and board members, and possibly find a new way to become a part of Canal Winchester Human Services. I am personally always filled with gratitude to our community for their support and generosity in making this event so successful.”
Overflow parking is available at David Evangelical Lutheran Church and at David’s Way/Canal Village. Volunteers from Lithopolis United Methodist will be here directing traffic.